Wednesday, February 27, 2013

potty training

About a year ago, we set down the road of potty training.

I wrote two posts about it here and here.

I thought we were close to the end. Boy was I ever wrong.

It was an 11 month battle. We tried the week long potty training, which worked for a couple of months until our summer schedule messed it all up. And during that time he would never tell me he had to go. I just had to watch the clock and guess. And if I my mind was too much invested in something else (dishes, laundry, cleaning, budgeting/bill pay, cooking) and he had to use the restroom, he would run under the table or to a corner and do his business. We tried charts, rewards, marshmallows, gummy worms, m&ms, gum. We talked about it, read books about it, prayed about it. I told him we couldn't take him to disney world, and that he couldn't go to preschool until he started going pee and poop in the potty. Nothing seemed to work.

And I had many break downs. Mostly as I was cleaning poop out of his underwear. It was the one thing that would automatically put me in a bad mood, stress me out, and send me over the edge. There was one time when Cooper pooped all over the stairs and kitchen. And we have carpet. I was so mad. After I cleaned it all up, I rushed to the store and bought diapers. I was over it. Done.

The last couple of months I tried more desperate measures...we took monkey away (gasp!) whenever he had an accident. Didn't help.

I think that Cooper's issues were mostly a control issue. When he hit the stage of wanting to be the boss and say how things went is when he really started regressing. Peeing and pooping his pants was the only thing he could control and the only way he knew he could get a particular reaction out of us. He knew he was peeing and pooping, and no matter how many times I told him he needed to go to the bathroom for those things, he would still go under the table or in a corner. If he knew to go to those places to do his business, surely he knew where he really had to go, he was choosing not to. Because of that, and after praying about it and talking to a few friends about it, I decided to spank Cooper when he had an accident - and told him his spanking was not for having an accident, but for his choice to do it in his pants, not in the toilet, and for not telling me he had to go. Spanking has been the most effective discipline tool for Cooper during his toddler years. As he is getting older, different tactics are working. I thought maybe the spanking would be helpful in helping him be more aware of when he had to use the restroom. I also added a song and dance number and gum when I noticed he was dry.

I had only been doing this new tactic for a couple of days when we went on vacation to Florida. I decided that if he didn't have the hang of it by the time we got back, I was done. We would go back to diapers for a month before trying again. I don't know if it was the sunshine, or if it really did click, or the fact that we went to disney and he remembered what we said about not taking him if he didn't get it. Or maybe he knew he was turning 3 and needed to get his act together. Whatever it was, I'm glad it happened. About three days into vacation he was playing, looked up and said, "I have to go potty!" After him using the restroom he was greeted to a round of applause and cheering! This pattern continued for our vacation and has not stopped. We have had only a couple of days where there has been an accident. And when the accident comes, it has not been poop.

I'm so proud of Cooper. I'm happy that diapers (except at night) are behind us. I'm happy that my stress level really has come down.

After almost a year of potty training, I believe the end is finally near!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Sarah is a young lady that I have gotten to know over the past year and I have come to love her heart. She loves the Lord and desires to do His will in all areas of her life. She has been a huge blessing to me. She is taking a missions trip to Ethiopia this summer. Here are her words about why she is going on this trip.

"For years I have felt God leading me to missions work overseas, and He has finally brought the perfect trip, at the perfect timing. This May I will be packing my bags and taking a 17-hour flight to spend 2 weeks ministering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to orphans, hospital patients, and all kinds of other people who are seen as the "untouchables" of their community.

Over the past couple of years, God has wrecked my heart for children who are living in poverty, especially in Africa. I truly believe that God created each one of us with great purpose, and that the way we are loved as a child will affect our relationship with God and the world around us for the rest of our lives. My passion to love children and show them a God who loves them far more than they can imagine has become something that has continually grown over the past years as God has revealed Himself to me. Because of this I have chosen to major in Social Work and minor in Intercultural Studies with the belief that God is leading me to one day move overseas to do full time mission work as a Child Social Worker. This trip will be a great opportunity for me to "get my feet wet" and start the journey that God has called me to of loving the hopeless, the hurting, and the broken."

Told you she has a great heart!

As Andrew and I were praying about how we could help her, I kept feeling like I needed to use my talents to help her. And that's what has brought us here. I am going to host two mornings of mini-photo sessions that are spring and Easter themed.  ALL money made will go to Sarah for her trip to Ethiopia.

This is a great opportunity for you to get some great family pictures taken, as well as help accomplish God's mission for Sarah.

The sessions will be held at Mr. McGillicutty Art Studio on March 9 & 16 from 9:00 AM -NOON. Each session will be 15 minutes, and you will receive 15 edited photos with copyright privileges. Each session is $50.

To sign up for a time to bring your family in for a photo session, click here.  Times will be given on a first come, first serve basis. I will work with you as best as I can to meet your family's need.

If you would like to donate to Sarah's trip but don't want pictures, you can email me at with the subject "donation" to find out how.

I am so excited to see how God works through this event! Pray about joining us, but most importantly, pray for Sarah. Pray for the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual challenges she has ahead of her on this journey.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


For the last year I have been trying to listen to God in a different way. I listened to whispers.

God told Elijah to go stand on a mountain because he was about to pass by.

"Then a great powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out a stood at the mouth of the cave." 1 Kings 19:11-13

It was the in the whisper that God showed up. It was the whisper that let Elijah know God was there. And when he went to the mouth of the cave, it was then that God told him what to do next.

I decided one day that every time something popped into my mind, I would think about it and pray about it. So I did. After a while of that I felt like God was telling me that when someone came to my mind, it was from him, and it meant I needed to pray for them. So I did. From a memory popping up, or wondering about how someone was doing, I knew that these thoughts came to my mind for a reason so I started praying for these people as they came to my mind.

Then one day, I heard the whisper, "Call Laura". I was in the middle of dusting my house, but stopped what I was doing, picked up the phone, and called her. When we talked nothing major was going on in her life, but we both left the conversation encouraged and lifted up. I was still glad I listened to that whisper.

After that phone call to Laura, I heard this whisper many times. Call this person, call that person, email this person, text this one. At first I was nervous because it kind of sounds ridiculous, "Hey, you've been on my mind and heart...what's going on?".... But after a few months of this, I started realizing that when these people came to my mind, something was going on in their life, and they needed my prayer. I tried to not let names just pop into my mind on a whim. I tried to not to focus on the doubt and uncertainty but instead focused on helping that person battle their spiritual warfare in the form of prayer and encouraging words. 

Here are just a few examples of these phone calls:

One day a friend was really on my heart. I couldn't shake it. I kept praying, and she was still on my heart. So I called her. Her response: "I was just praying and asking God to help me." She had just moved to the area and was having a hard time leaving her friends behind in the city she moved from, having a hard time moving forward and adjusting to her new life here. She told me how thankful she was for my phone call. I am pretty confident that that phone call gave her a sense that everything was going to be ok.

There was a girl that had babysat for us a couple of times. I felt this tug on my heart to talk to her about a mentor relationship. I thought this was crazy! I had only had contact with her a couple of times and she was getting ready to graduate and go away to college. I kept praying about it, and the idea of a college mentor/encourager came to mind. So I asked this girl out to coffee, and brought up the idea to her, sure that she would laugh in my face. Her response: "I have been praying for someone to come into my life a little bit a head of me to help mentor me." I'm so glad I listened to that whisper. I've had the honor of lifting this girl up in prayer and it has been an amazing experience.

Another day a friend popped into my mind so I spend a lot of my day praying for her. When the feeling that something was wrong wouldn't shake, I called her and left a message on her voicemail. "This is Chandra. You are on my heart big time today. What's going on? What's wrong? I'm lifting you up in prayer." I found out a week later that my friend had miscarried. When I got the chance to talk to her, she said that the day I called her was the day they found out the baby had no heartbeat. And she wasn't ready to call me back to talk that day (completely understandable!). But I'm confident that by me listening to that whisper, she was given a bit of peace and comfort in a very hard situation.

There was a day this week when I didn't listen to the whisper. My friend kept popping into my mind. I kept praying, and the whisper told me to call her. But it was Cooper's birthday and I just wanted to focus on him that day. So I didn't call. Later that night I got an email from her saying that her son was having surgery the next day and she was getting anxious and nervous about it. I was convicted right there. I had not followed through on what I knew I should do. My friend could have benefitted from a talk and some prayer from me.

What whispers do you hear from God? Do you just let thoughts pop into your mind without much thought on them?

I encourage you to really focus on and think about the things that pop into your mind. Ask God to help you discern what he needs you to do with that name, and ask him for the courage to go through with it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Da Beach

The beach is my solace. I could go here every day and never get tired of it. 

There's this sense of peace I get when I'm there. This overwhelming feeling that God made it all, me included, and everything is going to be ok. 

Like most things on our Florida trip, Cooper had been to the beach but didn't have memory of it. We looked on with bits of his childlike excitement reflected in our eyes as we watched Cooper experience the beach.

The kid loved it. It was one big running, building, throwing, and water area. 

And oh, the water. He didn't want to leave it.

We played with sand and built a sandcastle.

There was this group of young girls who had set up camp close to us. The seagulls realized they had food and descended on their area. The girls all screamed and ran away not knowing what to do.

Enter Cooper.

He picked up sand and threw it at the birds, yelling at the girls to leave them alone. It worked! 

The birds fled and all the ladies gathered around Cooper and doted on him. And my comment to Andrew was, "It's already started". 

 We had a great time at the beach.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cooper's 3.

Cooper is no longer our two year old. He's three. 3!!! Why does that sound so old? ...Maybe because we're halfway to kindergarten...what?!?!  When I hear "3 year old" I don't think anything baby about it. I can't believe these years are going by so quickly.

Last night I hung streamers, a birthday banner, blew up some balloons, and set presents out on the table. I went to bed with anticipation of a little boy waking up to seeing streamers and balloons.

This morning I heard him playing with the streamers and looked out our door to see him with a wide smile. I said, "It's your birthday, Cooper!" He said, "I'm three now?" "Yes, Cooper you're three!" "I was two, and now I am three!" he exclaimed before jumping in bed and giving me a big hug and kiss.

He then wanted to go downstairs. "I wanna go see my birthday party downstairs." He was excited to see more streamers on the stairs and balloons on the ground. And his eyes got so wide with the excitement of seeing his gifts set out on the table. It took everything in me to convince him to wait until daddy was done getting ready for work before we opened his gifts.

He was served a breakfast of blue eggs (his choice!), then treated with a trip to the library, chickfila, and target to pick out some toys with his birthday money. Tonight we ate spaghetti and ate some cake.

While we were in Florida, we had a birthday party with our friends and family. We had a mickey theme since we visited Disney. We reserved a shelter at a park and had a blast!

The kids were able to play on the playground and on the big field next to the shelter. The kids stumbled upon a turtle in the woods...down in a big hole. My friend Amy had the wise idea of telling them that it would turn into a ninja turtle...but only if they didn't watch. Her hope was to get them away from the turtle. It didn't work. My child is semi-obsessed with the ninja turtles and if he thinks there's a slight chance he might get to see that thing turn into one, you'd better believe he's not leaving its sight. When we asked him if he liked his party, he said "YES!" and mentioned the turtle. Who wouldn't like a birthday party with ninja turtle glimpse.

When we asked him what his favorite part was, he said playing baseball.

We had a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us. 

When we sang happy birthday at the park we couldn't get his candles to light. After we sang to him, he just pretended to blow out the flames. I was glad that tonight we could have some real flames on the candles.

I tried my best to give Cooper memorable birthday celebrations. I think we succeeded!

And to Cooper:

My "Coopy", "buggy", or "bug" as I like to call you. You are one of the greatest joys in my life. God has blessed your dad and me with a great son. We are so happy to call you ours. 

When you were placed in my arms three years ago, I remember wondering what you would be like as you got older. And with that wondering came many hopes and prayers for you and your future. We are beginning to see a glimpse of who you will be when you are older, as your personality is starting to really shine and solidify.

You are personable. No one is a stranger to you. You will talk to anyone about any topic that comes to your mind. Lately, thought the topics mostly center on your new shoes from Christmas, trains, or ninja turtles. Everyone we meet loves the way you talk and can carry on a conversation. You seem to leave smiles on most of the faces we come across from day to day.

You are encouraging. When we are playing/cleaning/cooking/running errands, I will often hear, "you are doing a great job, mommy." "Nice kick!" "You good at coloring." "Thanks!" "I love you." It melts my heart to hear you utter these words.

You are observant and inquisitive. You don't miss a beat. You will look at the instruction manuals to your trains or your games for the longest time. You try to figure everything out. You want to know why and how things work. And you want to learn to do things yourself.

You are obsessive. When you like something, you obsess over it. Like trains and the ninja turtles. It's all you want to play and talk about. When you get something in your head you want to talk about it over and over and over again. And you are quite particular. You don't want some of your foods to touch. If someone hands you something, you make sure everything stays in the same spot, and don't like it if it gets moved around. 

You are excitable. I could tell you we were going to read a book, walk to the mailbox, or take a bath and you get so excited. So when something big happens like a day at the park, disney, the beach, or your out. The eyes bulge, your mouth opens wide, and you jump with excitement. It is so fun to do life with this part of you.

You are active. Just watching you makes me tired. You can't do anything without moving. And on the rare moments you do sit still, your hands or feet move...or your mouth cause you like to talk. You love to run, play sports, and play with your toys and trains. You keep me on my toes, that's for sure. I can't wait to get you into sports and watch your active nature have an outlet.

You are creative. Imagination is not something you lack. You are often making food, having car washes, going to the doctor, breaking and fixing things, or anything else that you think of in your mind. 

You are flippin' cute. Your good looks are going to get you into trouble one day, I'm sure of it. Every time we go out, someone always mentions your eyes or your dimples. If they are that noted now, I am sure that those eyes and dimples are going to give me panic attacks in your teen years when girls your age start to notice.

While I don't know how all these things will play out in your life, I am certain that God is using all of them to help mold you into the person he needs you to be. I am confident that God is going to use you to do amazing things in this world for Him. You are not here by accident. You were an unplanned surprise to us, but an important, needed, and intentional part of God's story.  

Happy third birthday, Cooper! Three cheers to you!