Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bits + Pieces

inspired by Bleubird Vintage.

... from our last weekend in September.

We were homebodies this weekend and it was perfectly fine with me. I decided since Zoie was officially a toddler, we needed to say goodbye to her crib (that she hated anyways). So a lot of our Saturday went towards decorating her brand new big girl bed. It had to be painted pink, since it would be in the pink room of the Deneweth house.

While Daddy and Zoie worked on the painting, Roxy and I fashioned up a toddler size pillow case with some fabric scraps we had.

The kids did lots of coloring and book making. I love that they put their creativity on paper... which reminds me, I need a new artwork saver bin.

Those last two pics: Zoie had a small pink ball she kept slam dunking into that little basketball hoop. When it would drop down and bounce around the porch, she'd say, "Wher'd itgo?" Then after I pointed it out, she would run over, grab it and say, "Gotcha!" She must've done this about 12 times in a row. And I laughed every time. So freaking cute.

I kind of love the "terrible" twos.

<3, Tabi :D

p.s. I need a haircut.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Confessions.

Confessing is a release we all need.



Today, I have only one confession:
I have been sort of obsessing over my little blog makeover I've got going on here.

As you can see, I've changed up a few things. I updated my header, I felt the old one was a bit too... summery and also created a matching custom Navigation Bar ( complete with rollovers... oooohhh!!! ).

I changed up and customized my 'About Me' section. It's a little more friendly, I think. Don't you?

I also went ahead and updated my "follow me" buttons and added in a little Save the Sea Turtles widget. If you haven't clicked on any of those, go ahead... Tabi Happy will be right here when you get back.

But anyways, back to my confession... I have been virtually ignoring my poor husband. So, I'm cutting that out right now, hitting 'Publish' and going to snuggle with him on our cozy little couch.

Later Peeps. xo

 Do you have a Thursday Confession? Go ahead and type the guilt away in my Comments.


<3, Tabi :D

Monday, September 24, 2012

How I Potty Trained My 24 Month Old

< left > Roxy's 'Potty Training Boot Camp' Chart, complete with prizes.
< middle > The only thing that would coax the Bear to sit on the potty was that Red Game.
< right > The ZoBo doing it HER WAY.

Did I get lucky? Or just better at picking up the cues?

Well, this is my third child... and to be honest, it's my first child I didn't completely dread going through this stage of toddlerhood with.

With the first one, Roxy, I was gung-ho towards potty training. I read articles, even sections of books ('sections of books' is big for me, I don't read grown up books) on potty training. I purchased all the necessary supplies: potty dolls, potty Elmo, books with toddlers going potty, actual toddler potty, toddler potty seat, rubber pants, regular panties. I even made the sticker charts with rewards. All of the supplies were picked out by Roxy and I with great anticipation and everything was surrounded by excitement.

Well, she was around 18 months old when we began (because that's when the book said we should start potty training) and through lots and lots of frustration on my part and a very strong-willed resistance on her part... we eventually made it to success when she turned 3 years old. Yes, it took us 18 months to potty train my first child.

With Riley, not only was I still drained from my first potty training experience, but he was also a boy. Which, in my head, meant that potty training would be completely different this time. Add to this the fact that he had absolutely ZERO interest in sitting on the potty or wearing underwear at ALL until he turned 3. He loved his diapers and I was not willing to force it on him. I felt like I forced the potty on Roxy and that's why it took us 18 months.

It turns out Riley was totally different at learning than Roxy. Roxy learned the skills of the potty gradually and eventually. With Riley, it was an overnight thing. It was more of a decision that he had to make himself. One day, he loved his diapers and refused to look at the potty, and the next he was in underwear and had practically ZERO accidents, even through the night.

Which leads us to child number 3, my ZoBo. Child number 3 had absolutely zero interest in that kiddie potty she's seen in the corner of the bathroom for so long. She wouldn't look at it, so getting her to sit on it was out of the question. I decided not to push it.

Readiness Cues

... until I started noticing her going longer and longer between wet diapers. And then I noticed she would wake up every morning with a dry diaper. I waited it out to see if it was a fluke, and it wasn't. Three months before her 2nd birthday, she had a steady pattern of waking up with a dry diaper. Finally, I decided I'd start her potty training regimen after we came back from our Summer Adventure so she would have more of a reliable schedule to not distract her from learning this new and VERY IMPORTANT skill.

Since she still had zero interest in that toddler potty, one morning I sat her upon a little toddler Dora the Explorer seat we have had since Cameron started using the potty (yep, about 8 years ago!). She went and was very proud! Mommy and Daddy did a little dance and she knew she did something good.

Since that moment, I would ask her periodically if she had to go pee pee. Most of the time she would exclaim, "Yea!!" and sit on the potty. Sometimes she would go and sometimes nothing came out. It was okay with me either way, she's sitting on the potty and that is amazing to me.

The Timer Method

After about a week of sporadically going in the potty, I bought a pack of Target brand Pull Ups (which I hear is a no no, but they are working wonderfully for this child), and I decided I'd start her on the timer method. I set the timer for 40 minutes and every time it went off, we would sit on the potty and try, then reset the timer. If she went, she would get a lollipop or 3 marshmallows. She started to prefer the marshmallows, so we only get marshmallows now.

Baby Steps and Learning Curve

After about 2 days of the timer method, she started telling me when she had to go! I realized we were making some real progress here!

Currently, she is at the point where she has a dry diaper all day EXCEPT sometimes when she naps, and she isn't at the point of going number 2 in the potty.

We have gone a few days with panties, even out to Roxy's Open House at her school and a restaurant in panties with total success.

She still looks forward to those 3 little marshmallows as a reward and so I still make a big deal out of it and make sure she gets that reward she is entitled to.

Yesterday, she started practicing pulling her pull up down and getting on and off the potty herself. She is so proud she can do this all by herself. She will even drag a little toddler size chair into the bathroom so she can reach the sink and wash her hands herself.

Sometimes she plays in the water a little too long and that's okay with me. She's excited about going potty and washing her hands herself and so am I.

My Zoie is 24.5 months old and 98% potty trained. I couldn't be more proud.

So, long story short... here's what worked for us:
  • Look for potty training readiness cues (e.g. longer periods of dry diapers, dry morning diaper, or blatant interest in using the potty)
  • DON'T make her do what she doesn't want to do.
  • CELEBRATE all her achievements.
  • Focus on POSITIVE reinforcements. Find out what motivates her (in our case, marshmallows).
  • No negative feedback. Accidents happen. Scolding her for an accident only makes two angry people.
  • Let her learn new skills (i.e. trying out the potty, learning to tell you when she has to go, going potty on her own, number twos...) at her own pace. Don't try to force it all at once, it is a learning experience and there is a learning curve.

... Wow! I sound like I've learned patience. ...

I'm sharing this with you because I know how desperate it can feel when you think you've tried everything. Sometimes you just need to get a little more advice worded slightly differently.

Perhaps the third time is a charm for me, I've finally learned that potty training does NOT have to be the nightmare I had thought it was for so long.

Good luck to you and yours.

<3, Tabi :D

Do you ever get that feeling...

images via Biography.com
... that feeling of transition?

Is it because we are transitioning out of summer and into fall?
Is it because I have recently started to up my freelancing game?
Or is it because my littlest is almost out of diapers?

This is my alien feeling. It's a little spacey. Almost like my body is going through motions, but am not really here... not all the way here anyways.

I've felt it often. 

I'm trying to snap out of it, but I don't think I'm ready to quite yet. This feeling...  is a little comforting. I've hoped for and asked the universe for change, positive change, a lot over the past few years. Change always comes with transition.

It's times like these, I find myself listening to my Johnny Cash Radio station (on Pandora). There are some souls that just fascinate me, and the story of Johnny Cash, his music and his voice are all things that speak deeply and intimately to me.
I hear the train a comin' it's rollin 'round the bend  
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when  
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison, and time keeps draggin' on  
But that train keeps a movin' on down to-San-An-Tone
While I'm grateful and absolutely happy with a lot of my life, there are certain aspects to it that are in desperate need for improvement. While I've never actually been stuck in any kind of physical prison, I listen to  Folsom Prison Blues and apply it to the financial prison we've found ourselves in. Like Johnny, I know what I did to get myself here. And, like Johnny, it does feel good to sing the blues about it every once in a while. And maybe we haven't 'seen the sunshine since I don't know when', but it is there. 

I have faith and I'm thankful at this moment for this feeling of transition.

Did you know that Johnny Cash became the only person ever successfully sued by the U.S. for starting a forest fire? Wha? If you are smitten, like me, click here for 77 other awesome things you didn't know about the Man in Black.

<3, Tabi :D




Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Confessions.


Confessing is a release we all need. I have just a few to get off my chest today...
  • My brain is mushy. I've been in HTML coma a good part of today.
  • The above photo may have been digitally altered.
  • My fingertips are numb. I'm out. Later blogosphere. xo
Do you have a Thursday Confession? Go ahead and type the guilt away in my Comments.


<3, Tabi :D

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Collage Because I Can...

... not sleep.
After the Bear was dressed up, complete with his borrowed clip on tie (thanks Logan!),
he exclaims, "I look expensive!"

The Deneweth family went to a wedding this past Saturday. It was the first time we all got fancied up in a very long time. So long, in fact, I had to go out and buy the boys khaki pants and the girls dresses. It's a good thing this wedding was 'dress casual'... if it was a formal one, we would have broke the bank!

I had so much fun dressing us all up. I have to admit it was even better than dressing up my Barbie dolls back in the day. I tried out some falsies and even did leopard manicures for my Roxstar and me.

Speaking of the Roxstar, isn't her little six year old self with a beehive the cutest??
I'm starting to really enjoy the part of our lives when we do different things.

Our whole Summer Adventure was definitely a break from the norm, dressing up for this wedding was different, I recently tried hummus and now can't get enough of it, the kids are trying out a new sport this fall (gymnastics) and are loving it... What else can we venture out and get into?

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mug Swap

Sometimes I sign up for things that sound like a great idea, then later I am full of regret that I committed to something so lame. Sometimes, I build these things up only to be let down and left with a not-as-awesome-as-it-should-have-been kind of feeling.

This was not one of those things.

I signed up for a Mug Swap over at Dalayna Dillon's fun little posiblog (I just made that up. Posiblog = a blog with a positive message) Pointing Up

The premise: you are required stalk the blogger you are assigned ( virtually not physically ) in order to get a good handle on who they are and what they're like... so that you may find a "coffee mug" that represents them. You can read the full details here.

... 
I was assigned to Rachel Wightman at Bindawapinda Zuva, which means "A place of sunshine where ALL are welcome". What I learned about Rachel by stalking her were these things:
  • She lives in Seattle.
  • She is a deeply spiritual and thoughtful person.
  • She is a nature lover.
  • She is a warm and gentle soul.

I shopped around a few places and found ZERO mugs that I thought matched her personality. On the day the mugs were due to be shipped out, I decided to break the rules (oh yea, I'm that rebel), and chose to send this warm little cozy object of cuteness her way.

Image via Love Me Do Crochet on Etsy
Seattle is cold, right? This looked cozy, perfect for a warm and sunshiney soul. Also, I thought the rustic wooden button would appeal to her love of nature.

And, by the way, Ashley at Love Me Do Crochet on Etsy was so great to work with. She shipped out next day (!!) and even included a personal note from me to Rachel. She doesn't only crochet cozies, there are a few newborn beanies in her shop that make my uterus ache... sigh...  
BONUS! Head over and Like Ashley's Facebook Page and get a 15% Off Coupon Code!

Anyways, Rachel... I hope you liked the mug cozy I picked out for you. I broke the 'rules', but I had my reasons.

....

So. My stalker sent me this AWESOME and PERFECT FOR ME mug.


Can you believe I didn't own a Star Wars mug up until this Mug Swap?? It's kismet.

And I have to admit that it was fun to think I had a stalker... you know, a safe kind of stalker.

My virtual stalker turned out to be Amber Mack from My three bittles.



This mug swap was such a win-win for me. I got a new favorite mug out of it, I got to virtually know a warm soul from Seattle, and Amber turns out to be a super fun and really cool blogger, too! You really should go check her out, we are almost twins. I have 3 kids, she has 3 kids. We both have white iPhones. We both have piercings in our noses.

The Coffee Mug Swap was the first Swap I participated in. Based on my experience, I'm thinking I might even commit to another swap sometime soon.

... maybe.

<3, Tabi :D
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Sunday

Today I'm starting my day off with optimism, sappy lovey feelings a head full of creativity.

I've got a bunch of chores to do, and that's okay.

45 days until Halloween.

100 days until Christmas.

But I'm focusing on the present.

<3, Tabi :D
 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday Confessions.



 Confessing is a release we all need. I have just a few to get off my chest today...

  • I have a possible job interview coming up and am: excited, a little nervous, wondering what in the world to wear.
  • I just pulled a dress out of my closet I wore to prom when I was 16. I'm planning on wearing it to a wedding this weekend.
  • I love our Thursday morning bike rides. Just Christopher, ZoBo and me. Without the kids on their bikes, we can ride FAST!
  • My boys don't own one pair of pants that aren't jeans and zero collared shirts. This only poses a problem when the need for dressing up arises.
  • I'm ignoring my husband right now. I better get off here. 
 
  Do you have a Thursday Confession? Go ahead and type the guilt away in my Comments.

<3, Tabi :D

p.s. One last gif. These are so fun!!

 

Rules for Marriage

Image via Pinterest
My blog is about me focusing on the positive things and the things that make me happy. One of those things that make me happy is: my marriage.

I recently read a post titled  5 Rules for Marriage.

I am absolutely no expert on marriage, I've only had this one. Also, I'm pretty sure my rules will not apply to everyone's marriage as each relationship is unique in it's own way.

But either way, I thought I'd go ahead and give my own take on these "5 Rules for Marriage". Here goes:
  1. Marry the right guy. Don't pick someone who you feel you have to change for. Don't pick someone who you think will change in time. Do pick someone who feels like home. Do pick someone who can make you laugh and who knows how to comfort and make you feel better when you're down. Do pick someone who you are proud to call your own.
  2. Always be honest. Don't keep secrets. Sometimes, this means you have to search your own self for the truth. Your partner may know you really well, but not as good as you know you. You know?
  3. Put effort into your love life. With 3 and a half kids and limited free babysitters, date night around here is non-existent, so it all comes down to s-e-x. If the love life gets put on the back burner, you don't feel as connected. Connectivity/intimacy is important to a healthy relationship. Without it, humans look for intimacy elsewhere.
  4. If something is bugging you, TELL HIM! It drives me mad when my husband does the dishes, but leaves food particles in the sink and in the dish brush. If I didn't tell him that, then it would fester inside me until I would start talking about his nastiness behind his back to my friends. So, I tell him... and he fixes it. He knows it's important to me, so he puts forth a bit more effort. This goes both ways. When he gives back a little constructive criticism, try to not get defensive and listen to what he has to say. (I'm working on this part, myself.)
  5. Kiss him every day. At least once. And be grateful for what a lucky girl you are.
On a side note:  Compromising means no one is happy. I know a lot of people say compromising is the key to a successful marriage, but I disagree... with a passion. I say, let him win sometimes and he'll let you win sometimes. Lucky for me, we are usually on the same page when it comes to the important stuff, so this is generally a non issue.

So, do you have a 'Rule for Marriage'? I'd love to hear what works for you.

<3, Tabi :D

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies... mmmmm

I know you were wondering if those cookies from Zoie's party were vegan. Well... yes! Yes, they are.

I like to bake, but historically I never had much luck with cookies, so I was a little nervous to try out a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. Lucky for me, this one was easy and muy delicioso!

I found it here.

Left to Right: Pillsbury Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies, Birthday Cake Oreos, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients:
1 cup dairy-free margarine or shortening (I usually use Earth Balance)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Plain Soy Milk (or rice milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag Enjoy Life Mini Chips (I found these at Target!)

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add soy milk, cream well, then add vanilla. 
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, then fold in the chocolate chunks with a spatula. 
  4. Drop by teaspoons on greased* cookie sheets. I have a mini ice cream scoop that works awesome for this.
  5. Bake at 350°F degrees for about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from baking sheet and cool on racks. 
* I did not grease my cookie sheets and they turned out fine, but try this at your own risk.

Enjoy!

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My ZoBo is TWO!

On Sunday, my little Zoie Rainbow turned the big T-W-O. We threw her a little party at the house and invited family and close friends to help us celebrate. It turned out to be a success!

The Theme: Rainbow (since her middle name is Rainbow... I'm going to play that one out until she tells me otherwise)
Food: Cupcakes, Cookies (at the birthday girl's request), Skittles, Rainbow Goldfish, Fruit Tray, Smarties, Naan and Hummus
Toddler Attractions: Ball Pit and Bubble Machine!

FREE Printable Rainbow Party Kit from HERE! Or you can download the PDF directly HERE. :)

Photo Overload Commence NOW.
My big girl.  LOVE HER!! <3

 Future party tip: 250 ball pit balls may sound like a lot... but they are definitely NOT enough.
Balloons are a good fill in. Just be careful around toddlers that still like to chew on things.
Luckily, Zoie was the youngest one at the party, and she is past that stage!
The birthday girl asked for cookies... did I go overboard?
On Sunday, her actual birthday, we celebrated with a low key day of playing at home, rainbow pancakes, putting together an awesome new Cozy Coupe car, compliments of Mimi and a little late night drive thru. Her late night snack? Marshmallows - her prize for going pee pee in the potty!

I'm so proud of my little big girl. :)

Today I asked her how old she is? Her answer: COOKIE!!!

<3, Tabi :D

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday

This week's installment of Five Things That Makes Me Happy Friday...
something that I usually do every Friday.
  1.  It's a Cameron weekend!!! We haven't seen him in 3 weeks, and they must have missed him because I haven't seen them since he arrived.
  2. We are having a birthday party for a certain almost 2 year old tomorrow! It's rainbow themed... again. I will do the rainbow theme over and over until she tells me she's sick of it. It's so darned cute! ( Remember this baby? )
  3. Speaking of my ZoBo, I'm so happy with how well she is doing on the potty!! The latest trick that is working at the moment? She gets 3 mini marshmallows when she goes, and she really loves those marshmallows. :)
  4. Creating graphics makes me happy! Did you know I do graphics? I'd really like to do more of them... so I'm adding a little self promo ad to my sidebar. If you ever need anything (or know someone that does), just come back over here and click that little link to send me an email with what you have in mind. 
  5. It's FRIDAY!!! This school stuff really wears a Momma out! Phew...
What is making you happy today?
<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday Confessions.

Just a few to get off my chest today...

Here are my Thursday Confessions:
  • Some mornings I wake up, throw on some workout pants and a sports bra under the tank top I slept in and head to the gym (after morning drop off). I justify this as less laundry, therefore being Eco-Friendly. 
  • I am smitten with Michelle Obama. Her speech at the DNC rocked my socks. 
  • Some times I don't correct my children on certain things. For example, sometimes when Riley is writing his name, he draws the E "laying down" because he thinks it's funny. I don't tell him it's wrong to write his E laying down, because I think it's funny, too.
  • I mutilated an entire Magic Eraser today cleaning my cabinets. They were pretty disgusting.
  •  I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. I asked for soy and said yes to whipped cream. The barista looked at me like I was a weirdo. 
  • I <3 Chipotle, but don't heart the service. Why do they have to act like they are too cool to make my veggie bowl??
  • I also <3 Courtney Love on Pinterest. I actually heart Courtney Love anywhere, but her Pins are pretty kick-A.
...

Do you have a Thursday Confession? Go ahead and type the guilt away in my Comments.


<3, Tabi :D

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Control Freak


Just a small epiphany I'd like to share:

You know that moment when your Mom says something about you... and immediately you think in your head, "No way. She has no idea what she's talking about."

So that thought just kind of sits in the back of your brain and hangs out, and it waits for the right moment to pop back into the forefront of your thoughts. It's waiting for you to realize that your Mom just might know what she's talking about.

Maybe I do have control issues.

It's what causes stress, it's what triggers anxiety, it just might be what's holding me back?

... so ... Thanks, Mom. I will try to trust more, to relax more and to learn the art of surrender.
"When we trust that we’re okay no matter what circumstances come our way, we don’t need to micro-manage the universe. We let go. And we open ourselves to all sorts of wonderful possibilities that aren’t there when we’re attached to one “right” path."
- Dr. Amy Johnson
 My first resource when it comes to inner issues is tiny buddha. Are you familiar? I highly recommend it.

<3, Tabi :D

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day to you!

Today is Labor Day here in good ole America and that means kids in school, people that have government jobs, bankers and some other lucky office workers have the day off. Mostly, it signifies the 'end of summer', except if you live in Florida, where we will continue to have summer weather for at least 6 more weeks... usually.

My kids asked me yesterday why there was no school, then why we celebrate Labor Day, and... funny... I really had no idea. Lucky for me, I get all my news from Twitter and someone tweeted this Time For Kids article explaining why we have Labor Day and so we learned together this morning.

I am so thankful for those people that fought over a century ago so that our children aren't forced to work in factories. My Roxy thought it was absolutely ludicrous that kids had to work in factories at some point in our history (and it is!), but then I reminded her that some kids in other countries still do. We both agreed that those people in those countries should do something about that.

Now to commemorate the 'End of Summer' (as is customary), I am sharing my 'Summer Adventure' photo book I just created yesterday (for FREE thanks to Fat Mum Slim). It details our summer through Instagram filters (because the FREE book was an Instagram book).


May you have a relaxing and enjoyable day today, enjoy your family, enjoy the weather, enjoy all the things that matter... wherever you are. xo

<3, Tabi :D

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This is STILL making me giggle...


So my 4 year old son finds a random piece of ripped paper in our living room. While making his way through the kitchen to the garbage, shaking his head in disbelief, he says,
"Someone must have been in our house who didn't know we had a trash can."

This is the product of a neat freak Mom. I couldn't be more proud.

<3, Tabi :D

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