Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Appendicitis Scare and "Mystery" Unknown

Though we can be uncertain about our circumstances, we CAN be certain in our God. 

The GREAT peace and joy that comes with that is evidence of that life "hid in Christ". :)

Two Thursday's ago Ahavah had some stomach pain and a low grade fever. Her stomach was slightly tender to the touch. We debated bringing her in, but with her bleeding disorder/autoimmune disease, and the fact that were passing around mono (which causes swelling of some organs), we decided to be safe and take her in. They looked her over and sent us home. 

Last Tuesday we were at CostCo shopping for our road trip we left on Thursday  morning and all of the sudden Ahavah was dubbed over in excruciating pain. Her face grew pale, she was very weak, and told me she felt like vomitting. I grabbed the nearest trash bin and carried her to the bathroom. We sat in the largest stall as she sat on the floor in front of the toilet. She had some dry heaves and just held her stomach moaning. 

On our way home, she was just begging me to let her go to bed. The corners of her mouth were a bright blue. I brought her home and laid her on the couch. After resting for about an hour, her stomach felt better, but she was exhausted. She just wanted to sleep. After a few phone calls, her doctor wanted to see her.

She was limping and hunched over. Her WBC was 28,000. He platelets were 341,000 (which is phenomenal!!). All she could do way lay down and be carried. So we took her right to the ER. The pediatrician was CONVINCED it was her appendix. She believed it had already burst and we needed to hurry and get her in.

The emergency room confirmed her WBC and fever. We did an ultrasound to check her appendix. All the doctors were sure it was appendix, until the ultrasound. Everything looked normal. The only strange thing they found on "accident" was her kidneys are enlarged near the part where they connect to the "pee tube" (not exactly sure what it's called) and her kidneys, then, have fluid surrounding them. They reassured me it had nothing to do with what was going gone right now, but it may cause us issues in the future. 

The admitted us overnight to keep an eye on her and see if we wanted to do more testing in the morning. The next morning her WBC is half of what it was the day before, her fever was gone, she's acting normal. The crew of doctors came in and the lead doctor really felt like something was going on. She decided on an x-ray and said if we noticed a back up of stool they would discharge her with a very serious laxative regime she was to follow. 

Sure enough, the x-ray revealed her intestines were completely FULL! I've never seen such a sight! The doctor came in and talked to me and said she felt like the constipation was more of a symptom then a cause for all that was going on, but she felt okay about sending Ahavah home. I was to follow up with her hematologist and her pediatrician. 

**GOOD NEWS! Her lead levels dropped to 17, and then to 14!! Praise the LORD! This is the lowest they have been in over a year!!

After talking to the pediatrician that sent us into the ER, she also thinks something bigger is going on here. She remembers how sick Ahavah looked and doesn't think she was simply, "constipated". 

Yesterday the same thing happened but with some new symptoms. There was much less stomach pain this time, but she has having headaches and started getting a cough and runny nose and she was sneezing uncontrollably. I tried some allergy medicine and nothing helped. She got a low-grade fever again and a rash all over her face. She was wiped out! She was very whiney and wanted to just lay down and sleep. 

It's a mystery (to man) what's going on with my daughter, but not to my God.

He holds all things in His hands and His good will WILL be done. 
I trust Him entirely. 

I am praying her upcoming appointments reveal what the recurring fever is from. 

I am hoping that she is just sick from the mono that I have been dealing with (even though all her blood work suggests she doesn't have mono). 

I may not be certain about what's going on, but I don't need to be... 
I am certain in who my God is. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Preparing For A Family Trip

Every year we go on 2-5 roads trips. We try to go to my dad's in Detroit at least once a year, Appleton, WI for a Pastor's Conference, Omaha, NE for a Conference and then there may be a few other trips that come up.

We LOVE to travel with our kids! It's such a great time of irritation, annoyance, cramped, and charlie-horsed muscles, all snug together within snot-nose reach of one another... it's great! 

Just kidding... kinda... No, but really it's all what we make it. If our outlook is to spend time as a family, spend time fine tuning the character traits in our children, and to spend time snuggling up with our spouse and allowing our children to see that intimacy between their parents which usually isn't as apparent in the midst of the business of lives, then it's going to be a GREAT time! On the other hand, if our outlook is to try to "get some me time" or to to listen to the speakers and get "built up" so I can do this parenting thing, then we are SURE to have a crummy trip. 

So then there's the nitty gritty that us women think about in detail that has to take place before, during and after the trip that, quite frankly, never enters a man's mind. As I'm working through these details, I wanted to jot some tips and tricks down that I've learned since we are a family that travels white a bit. 

(1) Get Your Outlook Adjusted: Like I said above, go into this trip with a proper attitude. You, the wife and the mother, have such great influence over the "spirit" of your family. If mom's happy, light-hearted, patient, compassionate, friendly, and bubbly, then everyone enjoys themselves. Strive to have a good attitude, and be joy and blessing to your husband and your children. Prepare ahead of time to purpose to do this. 

(2) Start Your Lists: I would do this a week before you leave. This way you don't forget to charge batteries, purchase certain items, or pack any items. I make a:

- Food List: We are the family of allergies! What's for breakfasts/lunches/snacks/dinners? Will there be a fridge? A Microwave? What restaurants will be around that we can eat at? How much can I spend on travel food? Where do I get those items? When should I purchase the food for the trip? Does the food need any prep work (assembling, cutting, washing, pre-separating)?

- Clothing List: Will we need swimsuits? Will your newly-potty trained child need several pairs of extra underwear and pants? How many outfits does each child REALLY need? Will it be cold, warm, or hot weather? Is my period due? What about medicine?

I fit my ENTIRE family into ONE suitcase. There's more room in the car (in case your famiy member's car breaks down and you need to squeeze 6 more people's belongings into yours.. see below picture), less fussing over packing, repacking and unpacking.

- Activities for Children: What activities should I pack? Do I need new supplies (coloring books, crayons, play dough)? Does anything need batteries or to be charged? 

- Chores Needing Attendance Before Departure: When will I do the last loads of laundry to there isn't musty clothes waiting for us to get home? When will I do the final vacuum? The final sweep and mopping? Will we make breakfast before we leave and therefore need dishes to be washed in the morning? What do I want to come home to? Will company be coming home with us? What do I need to do to prepare for that?

It helps to keep little boxes for organizing things. A Box of car activities. A Box of healthy treats and sandwiches.

(3) Set Up Your Plan: 
Monday - Deep Cleaning (Bathroom, vacuuming upstairs, changing bedding), Packing clothing, and preparing Bedrooms for mom and dad. 

Tuesday - Grocery Shopping and Deep Cleaning the Living Room

Wednesday - Bathing Children and Braiding Hair, Finishing All Laundry in house, preparing food (sandwiches, sliced vegetables, mixing trail mix ect), sweeping and mopping.

Thursday - Leave at 6am.

Elias LOVED his car book. It kept him very occupied. 

*NOTE: Spreading all that needs to be done over the course of several days makes this so much less stressful and leaves room for the inevitable "emergencies" that come up and demand our attention (such as an appendix scare and admission into the hospital; See future post)
Unfortunately we spent two days in Children's Hospital due to a high WBC and other strange symptoms.  Good thing we started packing and cleaning ahead of time!


  • Place all your dirty Laundry into a Garbage bag to keep separate from the clean clothes. This also helps with unpacking since you can just bring the bag of dirty clothes right into the laundry room and play into the wash. 
  • If you're going to a conference or event where kids need to sit quietly for longer periods of time, make sure you plan different activities so that they have something "new" to play with when they get bored. Buy some new things from the dollar store and don't show it to them! Every speaker, or every hour, given them a new surprise to play with along with a snack.
  • If you are sitting a lot, make sure the kids get some time to be kids. Let them run around outside when you can. Stay in a hotel where there is a pool or near a park. 
  • If you're staying at someone's home, take the time to walk your children through scenarios they may face and not know how to deal with (disagreements between them and other children in the home, sleeping in an unknown place ect.)
  • Be flexible. Have Fun. Relax. Be creative. Allow your husband to lead. 
Fortunately, we were given a nursery area all for ourselves!

Ipads (Leap Pads) are ONLY for road trips. We'll usually buy a new game or a new app for trips and this makes the iPads a real treat!
We ended up buying these flotation deals while we were there. Good thing we packed light! We had plenty of room to fit them in our suitcase.


  • Unpacking Tips: Unpack RIGHT AWAY! Walk in the door, bring everything in. Open your bag and pull out your dirty laundry you've been placing in a garbage bag and put it right in the wash. Place food in the fridge, place clean clothes under one arm, and toiletries under the other and head upstairs and put them away. DONE! Get the kids involved. It's great for them to learn the responsibility of their own belongings and how to persevere when they are exhausted. Of course, if you're walking through the door at 1am, I would put the kids to bed, but I would still unpack right away. Then it's done! 
  • Spend a day relaxing, recovering, and talking about all you learned on the trip. Don't get back into the grind of things right away. Reflect on what the Lord's taught you and don't miss out on letting those lessons really soak into your heart and mind.  
  • Eat plenty of probiotics. Traveling stops you up (if you know what I mean) and often means you've eaten unhealthy (at least more then normal) and your body could benefit from a boost of healthy gut bacteria. 

My dad and step-moms LARGE conversion van broke down on the way home. This is a glimpse of the amount of stuff we had to fit in our van. Praise the LORD another person from the hurrah drove by to pick up my mom and brothers. The rest of us had to squeeze in the van FULL of stuff!
Dad broke down right by a rail road track. We got to see several trains zoom past which was very cool! We grabbed blankets and laid on the grass and watched them .

Big brother looking out for little sister (Mariah). 
I am a very organized person and I find that being organized makes things run more smooth. It blesses my husband tremendously. He tells me (verbally and nonverbally) how much he appreciates that I have everything that pertains to the home taken care of. He loves coming home to a clean house. He loves having everything he needs packed, organized, and clean. He loves that he does't have to think every detail through. He then is freed up to make sure the car works, the finances stay in order, we have a hotel room, and we have places to eat and go. It also is a GREAT thing I am exemplifying for my little adult-in-trainees! They are seeing the importance of all the Proverbs speaks about (planning ahead, working diligently, delegating tasks ect).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Henna Hair Dye

I'm the daughter of a cosmetologist.
My sisters and I have done just about everything there is to do with our hair.
And after dying it every 4-6 weeks for the last 4-5 years, and recently getting a perm and doing a few bleached streaks... I decided I want to be done with chemical hair treatments. 
We have switched all our home cleaners and products to all-natural products, so why not this?!?
Well, I decided to try... drum roll please...

END RESULT! This is when Alex and I were walking to the Mache Conference downtown. This was my first time out of the house for weeks from being sick with mono. I felt SO sick this day! 
Cost: Aprox. $12 - could get 2 uses from
My Experience: Easy to use. Not very desirable results. It didn't turn out the way I thought it would. But it did leave my hair very soft and healthy feeling.

Brand: Light Mountain
Cost: Aprox. $7 - could get 2 uses from
Experience: Messy. Time consuming. But LOVED the results color wise!! It didn't leave my hair feeling nourished like the above brand.

So I have a pretty red color to my hair now. The parts that were black and still black but with a red hue to them. The blonde streaks I have underneath are as red as my roots. It looks... interesting... but I'm hoping as the black grows out, and I keep henna-ing it, it will turn out nicer each time. 

Do I recommend Henna?
I've only done it successfully once, but I really like it! You can do black, browns, and red hues. I am all for natural products and since Henna's the only one I've tried, I can't say I recommend it over any other natural products, but I do over conventional products!

What are the Pros and Cons of Henna?
- Healthy for your hair. It actually moisturizes your hair instead of damaging it. 
- It dyes your hair in a way that has a bunch of really pretty shades and highlights and depth. 
- It's not just a straight, bland color. 
- It's cheaper then box dye (since you can often stretch one "box" for two dyes).
- You can play around with the Henna mix and add things like an egg or yogurt for more moisture or lemon juice or chamomile tea for more blonde hues.

- It's time CONSUMING! You mix the Henna with water and have to let it sit 30 minutes to 2+ hours before applying to hair. Then, depending on the color you want, it needs to sit in your hair for 1 hour-4 hours before you rinse it out. 
- It's very messy. Anything the Henna touches will be dyed an orange color for a LONG time if not permanently. You have to place vaseline around your face and neck to attempt to prevent skin dying. You also need to lay paper towels around the area you're working. You also need to take into account how and where you're going to clean your bowl/utensils. I recommend using a container you can throw away.

When You're REALLY Down and Out

What was strep throat and resolved
What was some colds and possibly a touch of influenza and
A good dose of mono!

We've been down and out for about a month, but REALLY down and out the last couple weeks. When one, or even two kids are out, life still goes on. BUT when mama's down with mono... life comes to a screeching halt! 

Wiping the boy's 4-foot pee radius off the floor.
Sweeping the rice from dinner... two nights ago... off the floor.

Yes, it all stops. 

Praise the Lord I have a husband like I do! 
He's so great! 
He cooked, attempted to cleaned, did laundry put clothes in the washer machine and really tried to remember to move them to the dryer I believe, and did some of the kids schooling. 

But here are some tips on being SERIOUSLY down and out with lots of children (especially little ones):

(1) Get Some Natural Remedies in Your Medicine Cabinet! We desperately NEEDED some corn-free cough drops, cough syrup, immune boosting elderberry syrup, raw honey, vitamins, and teas. You can also get some all-natural chest rub that includes some eucalyptus oils to help with coughs, or you can make some

(2) Run a humidifier! In the main living area during the day and in the bedrooms during the night. It helps with coughing fits during the night and it helps to prevent germs from spreading.

(3) Stock up on Real Food, Snack Style! I really think the worst thing you can do is eat processed foods when you're sick. Apples, oranges, bananas, lemon water, kefir, dried fruit, carrots, hummus, organic cheese, organic beef log, boiled eggs, ect. Simple things you can give to the kids until your husband gets home to cook.

Bad picture. My reclined feet under the red blanket, Alex sick and sleeping under the recliner, Alyssa sick on the couch, and the kids all crawling all over Alex while He sleeps. 

(4) Listen to Messages: I don't know about you, but the LAST thing I want to do when I'm sick is read. I would rather watch endless television then pick up my Bible and read (just being honest). So I've learned I can listen to messages instead of watching endless hours of television. I'll even give the kids a pillow, blanket, and a book or notebook, and they can listen with me. 

Mariah asleep on the floor sick also. 
(5) Once you Get a Burst of Energy, Do What's Most Important: I try to wash dishes, sweep, and pick up the living room... that's it! Then I rest more! This is the main living area and affects your family all day, several times a day. Thankfully, I've trained my children in such a way they did MOST of the cleaning when I was really sick. But, when I started feeling better these were the main areas I focused on. 

(6) Take Note of Where Your Kids Need Training: When you're sick, you can't get out of a chair, and you can't get involved in situations around the house, you notice how your kids speak to one another; you notice how they're lazy in certain areas and you've been picking up their slack. You notice how one child sits in the corner and pretends to "clean" while the others actually do the work. These are all things I mentally took notes of while I was sitting, observing. These are character traits I am going to strive to address now that I am starting to feel better.

(7) Remember and Ask the Lord What He has Through This Time: For my family, we've been sick for so long, we had to cancel so many plans we had. :( Dinner meetings, me going to women's Bible study, me leading worship, ect. My husband even had to miss a day of school because I was too sick to get through the rest of the day without him.

It's been so sweet though!

We have a conference this coming up weekend. We exhausted majority of our resources trying to find a sitter for the kids so we could go alone. However, each one we asked, prayed about watching the kids, and each declined. We realized that the Lord was pressing on our hearts to make this a family trip. Then we get sick and the Lord's been showing us character issues in our children and in our marriage that He wants to work on. GREAT! We just had to cancel a lot of things and now we're taking our kids with us! Lots of time to pray and allow the Lord to work in us!

 So Praise the Lord we're finally feeling like we're getting better for the first time in months! My dad, step-mom, and two little brothers will be coming into town this week and staying about 3 weeks, and we will be leaving for Appleton Thursday morning for the weekend. 

We enjoyed the restful month and we're excited to get back into things!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Treating Strep Without Antibiotics

Let's get things straight before I share some things:

NO I am not completely against antibiotics. 
YES I believe a lot of things can be dealt with without antibiotics. 
YES even I have limits of when I go to a doctors office and determine that home remedies just won't be enough (just look at all the hospital bills we're paying)

Source Here


Last week Sunday morning, my daughter Alecia woke up and said her throat. I felt her head, she was definitely warm. Probably a fever around 100. She was also lethargic and not hungry. Alex stayed home from church with the kids and I told him to start her on "the tea". By Sunday evening, her fever broke, but her throat was still sore. 

Monday morning, her throat was still sore. I started everyone on "the tea" 3 times a day. By Monday night she said her throat wasn't hurting any more. It still appeared a bit red with a few white spots on her tonsils. 

Tuesday morning, she mentioned nothing about anything hurting and felt completely better. However, Hayven said her throat was hurting. I looked and it was a little red so we all continued on "the tea". 

We continued "the tea" Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday. Everyone seemed all better. There were no red throats. No white spots on the tonsils. No fevers. Nothing. 


Our Tuesday morning (see below) waiting for dad to come home was spent laying on the floor watching Super Book movies.


Sunday evening we got home around 11pm-12pm and I was laying in bed with my husband and could feel my immune system crashing. Whenever I eat things that I don't typically have in my diet, I get this feeling. I rolled over from the TV show we were watching and fell asleep. 

Monday morning, my throat was SO SWOLLEN; the little thing that hangs down in the back (you know, that thing no one ever knows the name of) was SO swollen it was almost touching my tongue! I couldn't talk, I felt like I was on the verge of chocking. I went downstairs and my sister was home (PRAISE THE LORD!) I asked her if she'd watch the kids until nap time, then put them down before she left for work. I checked my temp 100.8. I had a pounding headache. Long story short, I slept 20 hours and only got up when I thought I would vomit from the head pounding or if I needed to pee. I only drank "the tea" and some water.

Tuesday morning, throat still too swollen to talk. Still had a low grade fever. But was able to get out of bed and come downstairs. My husband left work early to come help out before he had school. He brought me more honey for my tea. Ahavah started to show signs if Scarlet Fever (a form of strep) by developing a bumpy rash on her face and chest. I have everyone back on the "tea"!

Wednesday, My throat is only the slightest bit sore. I have no fever. I am just physically tiered and weak. I would guess by tomorrow, I'll be feeling back to my normal self, but will continue the tea for the rest of the week (AT LEAST!).


My son insisted he have his own blanket and lay in his own spot.

This tea works miracles against strep throat. I've treated strep once before like this... YEARS AGO! I never get strep throat because I actually allow my body to fight it and build up a decent immunity against it. 

Hot Water
Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw Honey
Cayenne Pepper
1 Clove of FRESH garlic, chopped into 4 quarters (Optional)
Drink 3-8 times a day for at least a week, even if symptoms disappear.

In case you don't know this about me, I don't tend to measure anything when I cook, bake, or make home remedies. I adjust things according to each person. All my kids can handle a good amount of Apple Cider Vinegar, but Alecia is more sensitive to the Cayenne Pepper and it will take her FOREVER to drink this tea if I put too much in at once. I, on the other hand, LOVE lots of cayenne. So for Alecia, I'll sneak it in her meals while she is sick so she's still getting a good amount into her body. 

My recommendation would be to at least try this for a few days before rushing in and getting antibiotics. You'd be surprised how quickly your body (provided you have a decent immune system and nutritional diet on a normal day to day basis) can get better from strep throat with a little support.

If any of my children had gotten a high fever for several days, or I just noticed things were getting worse and not better, I would have brought them in. 

Praise the Lord we live in a country where we can make decisions about our health! 

Praise the Lord we have access to amazing medical technology! 

Praise the Lord He made things like honey, vinegar, garlic, and hot peppers to have such amazing medicinal properties!

We are very blessed. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Living with Unknown Intolerances

Elias and Aunty Alyssa.
As you can read from this post, I am (and have for many years) having a severe problem with corn that took a real turn for the worst over the last few months. 

The last event 
that had me sticking myself with an epipen in my bathroom, 
dialing 911, 
refusing the let the parametics give me a $1000-$3000 ambulance ride the the hospital, 
and driving to the nearest ER only to sit there for several hours being "monirtored", 
was when I decided to take the little oyster communion cracker followed by the watered down grape juice in the little communion cup. Within 15 minutes my brain function began to slow tremendously. My stomach started hurting. My neck started swelling...


I have managed to be so careful and been out of hospitals for a few weeks now (PRAISE THE LORD!)!!
Despite what it looks like, she is actully
fighting Elias to leave her alone.

But I am still fighting (Here comes the TMI part of this post that you probably don't care about... but hey, you keep reading it's on you) skin rashes, strange and inconsistent stomach pain, horribly swollen vocal chords, pretty severe fatigue, and random headaches (which I never get)

I want to believe that it's not what I think it is...

You see, when I met with an allergist, I cut out gluten, dairy, and egg from my diet for a few weeks. The swelling in my neck was almost non-existent. My stomach felt GREAT! I still had horrible acne due to the steroids I was on, but I wasn't having the strange rashes I am having right now unless I ate some dairy.

I s.l.o.w.l.y. added dairy and eggs back into my diet and seemed to be doing okay with everything except my skin. I have been changing my laundry items, hair care products, and body soap and lotion, but I am still getting these rashes. 

I added gluten back in and my stomach has been bloated and achey ever since...


So I guess I am going to have to cut dairy and gluten out (**SUPER sad face**) for a while again and see if this all goes away. I am meeting with a vocal/voice therapist sometime next month (If I don't suffocate by then) because they believe my vocal chords have been damaged through all this pesky neck swelling over the last few months. They think it may be vocal chord disfunction. 

You know, all this isn't overwhelming though. It's a little embarrassing... okay a LOT embarrassing!! I HATE being the picky one who has to ask that people accommodate to my needs. I LOVE being the BLESSING in a situation instead of the BURDEN. 

The Lord's humbling me a LOT through this. I don't understand why exactly, but He has told me:
Now this more accurately depicts Elias' attitude.
(1) This is refining me

(2) This is going to clear my life from unnecessary distractions

Funny, I feel like it's going to add more distractions... 

Well there's my ranting and raging trying to figure things out!

It's so nice to hear the Lord's voice. 
I can't imagine living life without it. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Potty Training Success ... With a BOY!!

Oh, my handsome, handsome little man!!

I've done several posts on potty training before and how we go about it. 
You can explore those posts before reading the below content so you have context.
You can read those here and here.

Due to the busyness of ministry during this season of our lives, potty training our son went a little different, but we stuck to the same game plan. 

I wasn't actually planning on potty training him until the summer, but Elias was really showing a great interest and perfect opportunity to want to go on the potty (he was dry after naps and sometimes overnight; he would tell me when he was peeing or pooping etc). Not to mention I was almost out of diapers and really didn't want to spend half my toiletry money on a huge box of diapers again (my husband hasn't been on board with my cloth diapers much with this baby)

So, unfortunately, there were times we had to put him in a diaper while we were training (which I STRONGLY advise against). We had a few events where we needed to leave him with a sitter and didn't want to burden them with a fresh-training-potty-user.

But typically, as I stated in the past posts about potty training, here area few rules that still stand even after training 4 children:

RULE # 1: When you're done with diapers, you're done! There is no diapers at nap or nighttime. But, they'll pee all over the place! Only a few times, maybe. 

My son peed on himself once at nap time and then never wet the bed again! WOO HOO!!! My twins wet the bed for a few days in a row, then they understood the concept. Hayven was the same as the twins. We were given this awesome pad to place under them that absorbs the pee and prevents it from going on the mattress. 

Rule # 2: Don't introduce pants or underwear until they are going on the potty themselves. I've found this helps tremendously! My son associated pants with a diaper and would pee right in them without any thought; however, when I left him naked for a few days, until he knew he needed to pee on the potty (as well as teaching him to communicate with me that he needed to potty), we were accident free! He's still unable to pull his pants down by himself because he's so little, but since I taught him to communicate (yes, you need to teach this while potty training) with me that he needs to go potty, this isn't an issue. 

Our "outting" at a thrift store to get some warm weather clothing. 

RULE #3: Plan outings around training, with the purpose of training. We bring his little potty everywhere for the first month or so. We pee before we leave, we find a bathroom immediately upon arrival and pee (yes, I carry the potty into stores with me. It makes great conversation :) ). We then use the back of the car as a bathroom and keep wipes, a towel, and the potty in the trunk and pee before we leave the store.

 I don't know the science behind this, but this rule (practicing outside of the house, with underwear on) has solidified the potty training for us. It's like the last step that helps the child fully understand potty training. 

RULE #4: Make it Fun: I think in everything we do as mothers, we should always portray the joy there is even in menial tasks or tasks we don't enjoy. There is abounding joy in Jesus whatever the circumstance.

We bought Elias Cars "Mannies" (there NOT panties, there MANnies. My husband made sure I understood this. Haha!). We would reward him with chocolate chips for the first day or two. We would all cheer for him when he went on the potty. We bought him a small green potty from ikea that had HUGE pee-pee guards (must need for my little man).

A few tips for boys:
  • We decided to train sitting down. We'll teach him how to stand once he's taller ;)
  • You may need to put "mannies" on your boy when you first start having him go through the "naked phase" since boys don't tend to feel the pee run down their legs. They tend to run around spraying all over and they don't even realize it (only the poor sisters who get caught in the stream notice it, or the mommy who steps in wet spots scattered ALL OVER the living room notice it).
  • We are still teaching him how to point down so he isn't spraying all over, but we waited until he really understood potty training to work on that.
  • We are still teaching him to pull down his own pants, again not an immediate MUST for potty training.
Again, you can read step-by-step how we potty train here.

Often people don't understand WHY we potty train so young and there are a few reasons. They aren't anything deep! It's just why we do it:
  1. Diapers are expensive
  2. We always had kids so close together, it's nice NOT having 2-3 in diapers at the same time
  3. I can cut back on all the items that I carry in my bad with me (diapers, wipes, plastic bags ect)
  4. We love to inspire other parents on how to potty train and that it's possible to do it young and with any child (provided you've had a good discipline routine set up with them since they were born).
  5. We've noticed the perfect window is right around 16-18 months. Kids tend to go through a short window of understanding how to hold their pee and when they are peeing. 

I hope you're encouraged to endeavor potty training! I've noticed teaching them so young opens up a maturity in them that is beyond their age and affects their development in such a positive way. :)


  • Pooping on Grandma's Floor: We were celebrating my husband and little sister's birthday at my mom's house. My son was fresh potty training. My mom's boyfriend has had no children and has never been through potty training before. So here's my son running around with no pants on. He's flapping all over the place and runs and squats on his potty and then gets up and runs around again. We're packing up to leave and my husband noticed it smelt like poop. Sure enough, all ... and I mean ALL over the kitchen floor was poop smeared. Little foot prints of poop trailed all over the kitchen. The play kitchen had poop on several of the pieces. George (my mom's boyfriend) was shocked! Not only was he taken back by the naked man running around, but the poop all over was a real jaw dropper. We laughed so hard! It was just natural to us who have been through potty training before. George never realized it was actually training to potty train a child.
  • The 4-foot spray: My husband and I were bring the kids upstairs to go to bed. At the top of the stairs we put Elias on the potty. Alex was right in front of him and I was to the side. I believe I said, "you may want to help him point it down...". Sure enough he sprayed right into Alex's face and hair, and onto the stair railing about 4 feet behind Alex. "WOW!" Alex exclaimed. Hahaha. 
  • Warning the Sitter: I warned the baby sitter that Elias is a boy (they only have a girl) and he needs help pointing down because he's got about a 4-foot spray. I could kind of tell he didn't really know what I was talking about, but he reported back to my husband that he now knows what the 4-foot spray is :).