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Posts Tagged ‘seventh generation’

“Choo choo!” My son said as he noticed the passenger cars parked on the tracks.

He perked up the moment we pulled into the Heber Valley Railroad train station.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

My daughter bounced in her seat, excited for impending Christmas carols and hot chocolate grandma promised would be on board.

I hardly shut the car door when Big T tried to take off across the street to the train. We went on a train ride over the summer, but he’d gladly ride one daily. In Texas, we get to see them, but in Utah, it’s becoming a tradition to ride one. That’s thanks to Grandma, who always gets us the hook-up.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Before we got aboard I asked Big T if he had to go potty but it was no surprise he refused. He is doing fantastic with potty training. We can go out to play at the park, grocery shop, and take a long drive and he’ll tell me when he needs to go. We were out of town last week and I had a decision to make: Bring diapers, training pants, or underwear?

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

I imagined potty nightmare after potty nightmare. Peeing on Santa’s lap, down the aisle of a train, pooping under three layers of snow protection. No thank you. Training pants for the win.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Shortly after we found our seats the elves brought us cookies and hot coco. Big T loved the cookies, his sister declined. But Lil’ J gulped the hot chocolate he didn’t want to take part in. It was so amusing watching these two take in the same experience so differently. They’re becoming their own little people with big personalities so quickly.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Lil’ J piped up for the songs, danced in the aisle, answered questions in the microphone and showed off her gymnastics talent.

Big T just sat back and soaked it all in. He took a prime spot by the window, practically glued his nose to it, and watched the scenery the whole time.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

About halfway through the trip we stopped to meet Santa and the engine moved to pull us back the other direction. In that 15-or-so minutes we were stopped he seemed to snap out of his trance and notice what was going on around him. Then he got impatient and asked me to make the train go again.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Before he lost his mind, I was able to try to snap a few pictures of his adorable face. Then once we started again he was back at the window.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

You’d think in an exciting situation like this a potty accident would be practically inevitable, but he did really well. I think we’re to the point where we can start to go with underwear during the day (aside from during naps). But man, Seventh Generation Free and Clear Training Pants sure come in handy for outings like these. They’re lighter than the average training pants, natural hypoallergenic, and have tear-away side panels. Great for this awkward but pleasant in-between stage where you don’t need diapers but aren’t brave enough to risk underwear.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

The kids walked off the train will warm bellies, donning their gifts from Santa–A beautiful bell just like the one in the book. I’m not sure if this is a tradition we’ll carry on every year (I hope it is!) but it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

If you get a chance to take your little ones out for a North Pole Express experience I’d highly recommend it. Don’t forget your camera, a wide-angle lens (to capture more of the scene from up close), blankets in case there’s no heat, and good training pants for your excited little potty trainers!

North Pole Express Train Ride: How to Photograph Polar Express Memories

Have you ever been on a train ride? What fun Christmas traditions do you have?

A big thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, dish soap, and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

Making holiday memories last

At the time of this post Lil’ J is 5 years 5 months old. Big T is 2 years 8 months old.

I don’t readily admit this, but I believe in my 11 years of marriage I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner once. MAYBE twice.

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple I somehow remember vividly. We were poor. We had upgraded from our cardboard box table to a real table thanks to my husband’s grandparents giving us one.

We had a thrift store futon in our living room that was my pride and joy. A couch AND a bed. Sweet!

We might not have had much of a Thanksgiving that first year had it not been for my job. I worked at a call center after school doing sales. I don’t remember the details, or how it happened but I won a turkey! Still a newlywed, I was thrilled to cook a turkey for my husband.

But how?

Holiday newlyweds interracial couple

I called my mom. She isn’t a human cookbook who can rattle off recipes like nobody’s business, but I do remember her making Thanksgiving turkeys… In a brown paper bag!

She told me how it helps keep the juices in the turkey, and no, it wouldn’t blow up my kitchen.

I made green bean casserole (my favorite Thanksgiving dish) cranberries, scalloped potatoes and mac and cheese. It was delicious, and our full bellies told us all of the dirty dishes were well worth it.

It’s basically my one domestic success in my marriage. And sadly that was 11 years ago.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a great excuse for dropping the ball the last 10 or so years (there were a couple years where we visited family and I didn’t have to cook. Let’s just count those as wins). I hate admitting this but at least three of the last seven Thanksgivings have been at Golden Corral. No cooking, no dishes. No fuss.

I FAILED.

Now is the part where I’m suppose to tell you I’m turning over a new leaf and cooking for my family of four this year. Nope. We are celebrating Thanksgiving in Utah where my fabulous in-laws are providing the meal. Sure, I’ll pitch in. But the pressure isn’t on me. Does that even count? (I’m counting it.)

Thanksgiving-prep

We’re going to be surrounded by family, once-removed cousins “so many cousins!” as Lil’ J puts it. Lots of food, family and fun. I’m hoping it’ll be the kick in my pants to remind me about the importance of these traditions. Lil’ J is five now and I don’t want her memories of our Thanksgivings together to be crowded buffet restaurants.

I want her to remember me attempting to cook a turkey in the oven with a brown paper bag. Or baking a homemade pie. Or SOMETHING.

Something my children will remember when they’re celebrating their Thanksgiving as a new husband or wife, and want to call me and ask for tips.

I may not be a Betty Crocker mama, but I can learn a thing or two, and hopefully make it a tradition worth treasuring.

Here are a few things I’m considering starting this year:

Dish duty: From lessons in table-setting, to doing the cleanup together. Seventh Generation natural dish liquid is tough enough for all the grease, but natural, hypoallergenic without dyes or synthetic fragrances. Stuff I can let the kids use. I have fond memories of large rubber gloves and a sink full of bubbles. I think my kids could get in on that.

Mommy and me dishes Seventh Generation natural dish liquid

Making a dessert with the kids: Let them choose one, and we shop for ingredients and make it together. Technically this is baking, not cooking. And I actually appreciate the exactness of baking that cooking seems to neglect.

Hunting for the wishbone: We did this when I was a kid, my sister and I always pulled it apart together while making a wish. The one with the longer piece’s wish would come true. I haven’t even introduced this concept to my daughter yet.

What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions that don’t involve food?

A big thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, dish soap, and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

I’ve been lamenting about potty training for months. Maybe not all here on my blog, but definitely to anyone within proximity who will listen. Friends, co-workers, neighbors, strangers at the grocery store.

It’s not that I’ve been actively attempting and failing at the process with my son–Just the fact that I’m still changing diapers and asking myself WHY.

cute_biracial_boy

First off let me just confess: I’ve broken the cardinal rule of parenting by comparing my son to my daughter. I searched my old blog posts and saw that she was potty trained almost fully by age two.

What the what?

It’s ok. Just breathe. Boys are different than girls. One child is different from the next.

My son was just straight up not a fan of sitting on the potty. It was as if he was scared. It took mega bribes just to get him to sit on the pot. Finally, enough candy got him to try it, and realize the seat wasn’t going to eat him, or worse–flush while he was still on it.

Then I got brave/overly ambitious and bought undies and decided to do a 3-day potty training boot camp that lasted exactly 6 hours. In that time he did use the potty several times but I was having meltdowns after each accident, and I realized that the amount of laundry that was accumulating was not worth it. Or maybe it was, but long story short, I quit.

My husband told me to calm down. ‘You don’t can’t potty train overnight… A child’s development.. blah blah blah.’ Calm down? You calm down and grab the scrub brush!

baby-jordans

Fast forward another month. I notice Big T has started squirming when he needs to go to the bathroom, obviously holding his bladder. I rush him to the bathroom and he goes pee. YAY! Progress!

I try taking a similar approach to what I did with my daughter and bought a bag of Thomas disposable diapers. I tell him not to go pee pee on Thomas, but in the potty because Thomas might get sad and cry.

FAIL.

Not only did he not really care if he gave Thomas a nice bath, he didn’t want to wear him anymore because he thought Thomas was crying in his shorts. Talk about backfiring.

He prefers his Thomas-free (also fragrance and petroleum-based lotion-free) Seventh Generation training pants. I like that they’re absorbent and hypoallergenic. He likes that he can have guilt-free accidents.

Last Friday we spent all day at my mom’s and he made it to the potty every single time. Peed and pooped! He was thrilled by mamas halftime show-worthy celebrations and he kept it up. We continued through the weekend with similar results. Thanks to Halloween I’ve been able to up my bribe game, and he’s totally buying it.

My husband is finally starting to get into the action and he sends me potty updates via text full of toilet emojis and applause. It is a team effort.

Yes, we’ve had a few incidents of not aiming correctly and pee landing on the wall and on the floor, and my leg. But I know it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Some messes come with the territory. I get it. I can embrace that.

potty training essentials

So it’s been nearly a week, and I think I’m ready to give the undies another go. This time I’m armed with Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry detergent and Energy Smart Detergent. It smells nice, it’s tough on stains and gentle on the most sensitive skin. He can pee in them all he wants. Laundry won’t scare me this time (ok, maybe fresh poop in undies scares me a little, but this should help).

I’ve got loads of potty candy and I’m not afraid to use it. I’ve got patience I didn’t have before. And I’ve got a 2-and-a-half-year-old who finally seems ready and interested in giving this a real shot.

Wish us luck… Again.

*Thank-you to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

A lot of things in my life are messy… Poopy diapers (still not through potty training), dirty dishes, and if I’m being honest: My house. But there can be some beauty in messes as well.

Embracing the messy- photographing a mess beautifully

When I was about 14 years old, one rainy evening at girls camp (the same one where one of my friend’s freaked out about lice), a friend and I slipped all the way up to our cabin because it was muddy.

My friend had the bright idea for us to get into a mud fight.

Prissy me? In mud?

I don’t know what overcame me, but I decided to go for it. After putting a plastic bag over my head to keep my hair as dry as possible (#naturalhairproblems) I dove in for some messy, muddy, fun.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new. I tried something I deemed daring and adventurous.

Recalling this moment made me think of my kids, who so far, aren’t real fans of being messy. My son hates dirty hands, and my daughter doesn’t like getting her clothes messy. But there are still occasions where they can’t resist getting their hands a little dirty, and I if I’m not panicking from the disaster before me, I can sit an relish in the beauty for a little bit.

I watch trepidation turn to triumph.

My son’s first experience with finger paints.
Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

The excitement that comes from trying something new.

After a long draught, my daughter was finally able to give her rain jacket and boots a test drive.
rain-girl

The pride that shines after mastering a skill.

My baby boy learned all of his colors.
chalk-copy

The beauty in the youthful joy they share.

I didn’t hide my makeup well enough.
blowing-kiss-daughter

As they’re unapologetically silly.

Shhhh. Don’t tell him there’s a little something on his face.
lipstick-kisses

And bound to make a splash.

I’m telling you, these kids are going places!
splashing-in-the-puddle

They haven’t reached mud-fighting status yet. But with cute faces like these, and quality detergent to deal with the aftermath, I can’t say I’d complain if they did (so long as they kept it outside).

I think we all have a “favorite” kind of mess that we can tolerate. Maybe even appreciate. Like a sink full of dirty dishes after a delicious homemade meal. Or a pile of warm, freshly cleaned clothes right out of the drier that need to be folded and put away.

Sometimes it’s nice to get a little messy, and let your kids get into it too. Some day I’ll look back and miss the sticky fingerprints on my window panes. And my daughter won’t beg me to help with my makeup (trying to secretly use some herself).

Some day the toys now sprawled across my playroom will be replaced with formal furniture in a room that’s much more quiet.

I’m embracing this messy, chaotic, tiresome and oddly beautiful stage of life. Before I know it, it’ll be gone.

What’s your favorite kind of mess?

*Thank-you to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, laundry detergent, and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

You know those horrible moms who send their sick kids to school, daycare, or nursery knowing their kids probably have a chance of passing that sickness on to another kid? Umm, ya… Sorry about that.

My huge 9+ pound babies were unbelievably healthy for their first 2-3 years of life. Maybe it’s thanks to breastfeeding, or maybe it’s a bunch of good luck, but we managed to dodge a lot of sickness. But the first time my daughter’s daycare called and told me my little girl had a fever, I found myself in a bind.

You have to wait 24 hours after their fever subsides before they can return to daycare. But the problem is, after you have a baby–depending where you work–you exhaust all of your vacation and sick time during maternity leave. So you return to work, and if your child gets sick, you don’t have sick time. It starts to accrue again by about 6 hours a month, but between doctors appointments and other emergencies, that can vanish quickly.

A dose of Tylenol and a prayer just before drop-off and heading to work is a secret I’m embarrassed to admit. I only did it once in desperation when I was working full time at the station. Then I didn’t see it as a big deal. All kids get sick, it’s a part of life, and we’re all trying to power through it. Now I can see things a little differently.

I still get it.–The desperation of having to go to work yet not having backup child care options. But I’m fortunate to be in a position now where I can adjust my work schedule for my family, and I have my mom less than two miles away when we’re in a real pinch.

And on the other hand, now that my daughter is in elementary school, I’m beginning to witness the toll sick kids can take on our family.

seventh generation handwashing ways to stay healthy during cold season

A few nights ago Lil’ J woke up rushing to the bathroom to throw up (by the way it’s so nice that she can recognize when she’s going to be sick now). Is this a sign of what’s to come? We’re barely a month into school and we’ve encountered what appears to be a stomach bug (which honestly we get once a year about this time anyway).

She never got a fever, and was better the next day (which was a Saturday) so I’m hoping maybe it was a fluke and the rest of us won’t be coming down soon. That thought alone was enough to make me empathetic for other families. I’ve learned my lesson, I won’t be sneaking my sick kids into the drop-off line with a medically reduced fever.

Schools send mixed-messages though. On one hand they don’t want you to go to school if you’re sick, but on the other hand, you can only be absent so many times, and the class with the best attendance gets parties and perks. Maybe it’s suppose to be an incentive to try to stay healthy.

I'll never send my sick kids to school (anymore) hand washing seventh generation

We are stepping up our hand-washing game. Washing before we leave the house, once we get home, and many many times in between. My daughter love the smell of our new Seventh Generation hand soap so much I caught her washing her Barbie’s hair with it. There’s no synthetic fragrances yet they smell SO good. We’re also staying on top of vitamins, getting plenty of rest, and praying for good health all around.

I still worried what I’m up against though. A small daycare class is one thing. A classroom full of 16 other kids? I’m not sure we stand a chance.

Have you found your kids get more sick during the school year?

seventh generation handwashing ways to stay healthy during cold season

*Thank-you to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning productshand soap and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.

When your kid grabs his crotch and says “go potty, eeew!” right as he’s peeing, you’d think that’s a sign that it’s time to potty train right?

Progress is up and down (ok I haven’t really been trying very hard) but I’m trying to take it at his own pace. Big T seems to be a bit scared of the toilet right now. But despite my previous disgust for them, he happens to love his portable potty chair.

I think next month we’ll buy his first pair of training pants. Once we got Lil’ J a pair, she potty trained in a jiffy. All we had to do was tell her Cinderella would be sad if she peed on her and she made it a point to make it to the potty.

Big T on the other hand, I doubt will care who is on the front of his underpants. Is it a boy thing? A personality thing? It was so easy with my daughter and I already feel behind with my son. He’s already messier (his hands have been in the toilet more than anything else), and it seems like it could be quite the disaster.

Potty training and handy uses for wipes

Then again, he just turned two in April. There’s no real need to rush. Especially if it’ll hinder progress more than help.

I also think my husband should play a bigger role this time. He was convinced he’s suppose to pee standing up, but I told him that’s not how toddler boys learn. Oye!

As much as I love to cherish the phase we’re in, I must say I can’t wait to be done with the potty training.

All of the pit stops and cleanups. It’ll be nice to make it through this and leave the diapers behind.

Wipes however, will still come in handy. I think I use baby wipes come in handy for much more other than just wiping baby butts.

My kiddos helped me make this video showing some of our favorite uses of baby wipes.

I also love using them to remove deodorant stains, and for a dozen other cleaning-type uses. And my husband finds them handy too.

So even when we make it through potty training, our Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Wipes will still be quite useful. But until then… Pray for me and share your potty-training tips (especially for boys).

What handy ways do you use baby wipes? Have any potty-training tips for me?

I got lots of great responses in the comments! Check them out as you make it through your own potty-training journey!

Wow, this is a great list of potty training tips for boys. Definitely sanity-saving.

 

*This story is sponsored by Seventh Generation as a part of an ongoing partnership. All opinions expressed are my own.

handy uses for baby wipes

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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