7 Years

Category : Blogger Posts : 2007-2010

Crazy how long 7 years goes by and yet the thoughts and memories seem like just last week. Crazy how much one can grow, physically, mentally, spiritually in just 7 years. Where once we were young adults or just a teenager trying to make sense of it all to being home owners, parents, college grads and newlyweds.

7 years ago this morning, I got that awaited phone call from dad telling me the Lord took her home that morning. It was about 3 weeks that I knew that phone call would come, but knowing didn’t ease the heartache that would follow that day. That now her body would be lowered and her spirit would soar. Not for us to see anymore, but only relive in our memory, in pictures, in stories, in beautiful quilts.

Those feelings I felt that day only sneak in when I least expect it now. Only a handful of times. God has never left our side, from the day we found out it was leukemia to this very day, he has sustained us through the hard times and has given us hope, strength and love despite it all. Hope knowing that we’ll all be where she has been celebrating for 7 years and knowing love can be found through brokenness. Strength when thoughts of childbirth and pregnancy are scary because you feel alone or when you wonder how he feels in those moments he feels a need to talk to her. Love in knowing you were loved by her, with all her being, knowing we are still loved, love that’s shared and passed down.

Thank you for giving all of us that, mom. Someday, we’ll tell you all about it. But for now, know that we’re doing awesome.

Love and miss you.

Potty Training Success!

Category : Blogger Posts : 2007-2010

So I am making and breaking records this year with my blog posting. I typically only post when major events happen in my / our lives. This being my 3rd post of the year means that we have now had 3 major events in our lives to date.

1. Isabella born 1-13-09
2. Frank Hall passes 4-19-09
3. Anna becomes free from the bonds of the diaper! 8-23-09

Yup that’s right Anna is no longer bound by diaper, she is officially a big girl who uses the potty! Christie and I spent the last 3 days in an intensive effort to potty train 22 month old Anna.

A few months back Christie came across a link to an online book titles 3 Day Potty Training. We began to do research at that point to see if the product was what it said it was. We found that the system while similar to some popular methods advertized for free, it had some aspects to it that made Christie and I believe it was worth the money.

After spending 3 days using the method I can assure you that it is worth every cent. My sister who has her bachelor’s in early childhood development read the book (we were allowed to send her a copy of the PDF because she closely assisted us with training Anna today). Her take on the method was that it made a lot of sense and it did not surprise her that the system worked as advertised.

The basic gist of the method is to switch to big girl panties / big boy underwear and never turn back. The system teaches you how to turn accidents into positive learning experiences. By the end of the book the author has taught you how to potty train your toddler by being patient, consistent, loving and wholly devoted to just that task for 3 days.

Saturday morning we got up and changed Anna’s diaper (giving her the last clean diaper she would ever have.). We then got ready for the day, took showers – ate breakfast and began the day late but totally relaxed and ready for the task.

At around 10:00 A.M. or so we got down on Anna’s level, looked her in the ye and told her, “you are going to wear big girl panties now and go potty on the toilet! Anna, you are such a big girl now!”. From there we took off her diaper, put her in panties and never looked back.

We began pumping her with liquids (ok – not pumping, but we had a sippy cup ready and waiting at all times – the more liquid going in – the more opportunities to sit on the potty!). We also began asking her to remember to tell us if she needed to go to the potty, we did so a million times over, to the point where she began to ignore us, but that was the point. We wanted this to be so ingrained in her head that telling us became habit. We also kept asking her if she was dry, each time she answered us we would praise her for being a big girl.

It was not perfect form the start but we had no illusion that it would be. We expected and wanted there to be accidents. The accidents were not a bad thing but a chance to teach Anna how to respond to what her little body was telling her. By 11:30 A.M. we had gone through about 8 pairs of panties, one of daddy’s shirts and mommy’s ankle (Christie rolled her ankle sweeping Anna off to the potty one time – she is fine but it hurt for a while).

Slowly but surely we began to have some success, times where we caught Anna in the act of starting to pee, swept her off to the potty, got down on her level and lovingly teased her about how she made yuck in her panties and how we wanted to do that in the toilet. The more we did this the more Anna began to connect the dots and realize that she needed to let us know when she had to go. Of course there was a reward of 2 M7M’s for going Number 1 in the toilet and 4 M&M’s for going Number 2 in the toilet.

By the end of day 1 we had gone down for a nap and woke up dry, made it into the potty quite a few times and made it in the potty just before bed. This was quite a successful day if you ask me.

Day 2 began with a wet bed in the morning; we did not make it through the night. This was to be expected and we treated this the same as we did with wet panties and it went over just as well. Anna has some resistance to the potty first thing in the morning. We knew not to push her but she began to pee on the potty while sitting on it and crying, when she got the loads of praise everything changed. It was like she remembered form yesterday that going on the potty was a good thing to be rewarded for and from that point we never looked back.

For all of day 2 we went through a total of 5 or 6 pairs of panties, compared to the 15 or so on day 1. She never really verbally let us know she had to go to the potty until the end of day 2, but the body signals were there. I think this success was a combination of Anna connecting the dots and Christie and I being calm and consistent with our methodology. Basically Anna started to learn what to expect and what was expected of her and we began to learn how to read Anna better.

SUCCESS!!! Day 2 ended with Anna verbally telling us she needed to go to the potty and going both Number 1 and Number 2!!! This was a huge milestone for Anna and for us too! We were so proud of her that we made speaker phone calls to all grandparents to be sure they knew how big of a girl Anna was!

Day 3 (Today) was just more of the same success. She began the day with a clean bed in the morning (she got up once in the middle of the night and told us she needed to go to the potty and we got her to the potty first thing in the morning when we got up – she went both times!). Anna came into her own, letting us know when she needed to go to the potty. He continued to go Number 1 a lot and she had another Number 2 – continued Number 2 success if a very encouraging thing for mommy and daddy! We went through 2 pairs of panties today, but neither of them were Anna’s fault, she let us know, we just did not get her there in time.

Day 3 ended with a trip to the restaurant for a dinner out; after 3 days cooped up in the house focusing on potty training we all needed to get out! This was a success once again; she went to the potty 3 different times while we were there! His was just another sign to us that she gets it now and the method worked as it had said it would.

That brings us to now, Anna sleeping soundly in her bed, in big girl panties, another milestone reached! Tomorrow Christie and I head back to work and Aunt Sheila begins her normal schedule with Anna. I am sure some minor setbacks are in order, but again we expect it and are prepared to deal with them.

To anyone who has a toddler to potty train, I cannot say enough how awesome of a method this is! You can get the book at http://www.3daypottytraining.com

Another more standard update form Christie will come again soon!

Love Gary, Christie Anna & Izzy

7th Month: Two under 2

Category : Blogger Posts : 2007-2010

Well I’ve tried to type a post out a few times already but I was having a writers block, not that I’m truely a writer but nothing was flowing the way I wanted it to. So here I am for another try. :)

Izzy: This little girl has gotten to be so big in the last month! Just over two weeks ago she started to climb; on us, up onto furniture, onto toys that weren’t so stable. That was quite a feet for her and she was so proud of herself! So two weeks ago today (6th) I came home and thought, ya know she’s been pulling herself up on things, she’s been army crawling for quite some time, lets see if she can sit up on her own. Sure enough, I sat her down and she wobbled a smidge, but she stayed up for a while on her own! I was so excited (and Gary wasn’t home!) that she could do this, I told Anna to sit next to her while I got the camera. There Izzy sat all very proud, Anna sitting so very nicely and seemly proud of her sister and I got their first picture not sitting on the couch, not on anyone’s lap, but next to each other as sisters. Say it with me, aww…..!


Since then, she’s been climbing up onto chairs, our legs, doors, the door of the fridge, her sister and everything she does. So Anna’s pay back is shortly coming. She’s starting to actually crawl – Gary noticed last night that she was doing it more consistantly. I’ll let you know when we’re full fledged crawling! Shes almost 16 pounds as of her 6 month appointment, 26″ or so long and her head in the 90% percentile (the rest under 40%). So really, we produce giant headed kids. :) She was amazing with her shots, more of a trooper than Anna was and that’s saying something! She’s onto the 2nd foods and we’ve been giving her soft thing to try. She loved stuffing, not so much the puffs. Hopefully she’s not too picky! She’s really evened her temperment out since her first few months of life. She’s very happy, has a smile for everyone, sleeps through the night (except when the pipe goes missing) and just loves being around everyone (she doesn’t get as mad if you leave her in another room b/c she can come find you now). She’s definitely our cuddle baby and we don’t mind one bit. :) Her first words would be “mama” and now we have added “baba” and “gaga” to the vocabulary. She seems to be our go to bed early, get up early girl. Hopefully she’ll rub off on the rest of us! She’s just an absolute joy to have in our family.


Anna: Not only is Izzy getting bigger, but this little one is gaining a vocabulary at great speeds! She definitely tries most words (when she’s in the mood) that we ask her to say or as a greeting (like “see you in the morning” is “morning” or “have a good day” is “day” said in the cutest sing songy way). She sings the alphabet song, well some of it, but she knows the tune. She still just as passionate of reading books and doing puzzles as she’s been so much so I get new books and puzzles from the library to switch it up along with Aunt Sheila making her a bunch of match games. She loves being outside and likes to take peoples fingers, pull them to her door and says “shoes on” or “Anna’s shoes” and “side” to take her out. She’s still an avid rock collector as we find stashes in buckets to strollers. She’s cut all but one eye tooth and her 2 year molars. I think the 2 year molars are right around the corner b/c we’ve had some cranky days and lots of biting on fingers and other things.


The biggest news for Anna (and she doesn’t so much know it yet) is that we’re potty training her this weekend. We found a 3 day potty training system online that has proven successful for many parents, even with kids that have autism have been taught using her system. Now some people may not agree with it or don’t think it’s necessary to buy this PDF booklet, that’s completely fine. To each their own, we’ve just found things we’ve read and tried to be very successful with both our girls and Anna is hitting all the cues of being ready. So we’re taking Saturday, Sunday and Monday as days to focus on her. The process is all very positive it just involves seeing those cues and staying attentive. So we’ll report back and hopefully next week she’ll be in these itty bitty Elmo panties and diaper free!

For about 3 weeks now and for another 2, Aunt Sheeya has been watching the girls and have been having an awesome time! Full of art projects, playing outside, learning and just having a great time! We wish she could always watch the girls, but they’ll be heading back to their daycare after school starts up again. Thank you Aunt Sheeya!


Gary and Christie: We’ve done a lot lately, some physically, some financially, some mentally. We’ve really cleaned out our garage with all the basement stuff (throwing out, 2nd handing them, and putting it back downstairs), painted our “new” 2 drawer filing cabinet a beautiful shade of green apple to match the color scheme (first pattern of navy blue, two shades of turquoise and green) we decided on. We’re hoping within the next week to reclaim the garage back and then start tackling the basement!


We’ve also started doing Dave Ramsey’s zero based budget where all of our income is accounted for. We’ve been doing Dave’s “envelope” system for a long time on our bank’s website by taking a quarter of the amount for each constant bill and putting in their own account so when the bill comes we don’t have to scramble. There are exceptions like gas and electric, but the over/under amount we have in each of those seems to level it out throughout the year. This has helped us tremendously. But we found we made a lot more that we could be saving and didn’t really know where it was going. So we started to account for everything like our 3+ month emergency fund, clothes, expected gifts, household items (lightbulbs, a new pillow), etc. If we don’t enough in the clothes fund, we wait to buy those items till we have enough. If we don’t have enough in groceries, we cut back on buying that pack of steaks till next week. Things like that. So we’re saving a little right now, but we’re not having to dip into our money market to buy things. Along with all that, we’re snowballing all our bills like school loans, car payment and then our mortgage. I’m already over a year ahead in payments on Gary’s small school loan, so when that get’s paid off, that payment (which already had my small loans weekly amount added in) will go towards the next biggest loan. So we’re hoping by the time the girls are in middle school, we’ll have everything along with the house paid off (with our current income that is)! We’re quite excited. It’s these types of things Gary and I will be writing about on our joint blog.

Mentally we’re trying to figure out how to simplify our life in terms of living, things in our house, our goals, where we want our side work to get, etc. It’s not always very clear cut but each day we talk about these things and see where we can head together, as a couple and as a family. It’s so exciting and know God has given us the tools to get to where we’re at and will continue to do so.

Pretty heavy stuff, but we’re up for the challenge! More pictures and videos to come this weekend (I hope)! :) Here are the picture links from the last post: The Girls and Beaver Island.

Love to you all,
Gary, Christie, George and Bob

Mid-Summer Fun!

Category : Blogger Posts : 2007-2010

I haven’t had a chance to write a blog (been busy and the internet keeps going down on us at home). But here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Mid summer fun – A:21/I:6

Beaver Island 2009

Love,
GCAI