Monday, June 27, 2011

Diary of a Twin Potty Trainer

I've been potty training LoLo since they were 8 months old.  I ordered two Baby Bjorn potties on – one pink for Lola and another blue for London. Armed with patience I decided to start the process. I read somewhere, that at such an early age, “it” will become a mechanical rather than a cognitive deed. I was fine with that, as I was envisioning the diminishing orders, the ease of moving about without lugging a bag of supplies and doing my part saving the environment.

My mom prides herself by having potty trained her only daughter (me) at the tender age of 18 months. Upon her every visit to New York from Europe she observes children in diapers at the age of about 3 plus and comments “What a shame, such a big girl/boy in diapers! I hope you’ll train LoLo at an appropriate age!”.  (No pressure!)

So, yes, I started early. I couldn’t wait to put LoLo on the newly acquired plastic chairs with high backs for special comfort – a far cry from the white steel kind with a single side handle inherited from one of my cousins, or the outhouse with rotting wooden seat and a world of spider webs we had in Slovakia. The basic idea was putting LoLo on the potty after every meal and before nap and bedtime and whenever we were at home. 

The first time those little tushies sat on the potties, LoLo looked at me with surprise not knowing what this new toy was about. After a long enough wait and my persuasion speech to stay sit, I heard a tinkle – it was Lola and I rejoiced with “Yay, hooray (and a series of claps) thus signaling to her brother not to stay behind and enforce such behavior in the very near future. He didn’t. In a few seconds, I felt warmth dripping down my ankles as I sat on our green bathroom mat. By the time I realized that boys need special handling in this department, the rug, the vanity and the floor were soaked. This tiny peepee had a capacity of an industrial water sprinkler, it seemed. I now recognized that I needed a new design for boys with not only high back, but also a protective front shield. I found Scotty, the Potty online. So many great reviews can not be wrong! They weren’t, though the shield worked only partially at times.

The training went well and despite what the common knowledge is about boys, showing less interest, it was London who was starting to make a grunting noise when he needed to go “kaka” (“kaka” – a cumulative word for #1 as well as #2).  There were results of all kinds and potty training became a part of our daily bedtime routine. I bought a lion that made a roaring noise and only made it roar when there was something in the potty for positive reinforcement. Not sure if the lion made any difference, but surely provided entertainment. LoLo also loved sitting on the potty and read books or the Time Out, available at short reach from the magazine basket in the bathroom.

Needless to say, we were all very proud and impressed. That is until LoLo got diarrhea ... we didn't mention the potty for two weeks. After that it all went down the hill (I mean the toilet) ... (pun intended). So, now we were at 21 months. LoLo wasn’t trained, but they were well aware of the potty and the fact, that mommy can be hoaxed into taking them anytime out of the crib if they mention the word "kaka", which also became their mantra when they wanted out of any situation.
“Let’s get dressed!”
“Let’s go out!”
“Let’s go to sleep!”
“Kaka, kaka, kaka, kaka, kaka”

The multi-language household was also mixing it all up; as much for me as for them. The way LoLo pronounced “kaka” was very same to “kuka” (garbage in Hungarian), “kuki” (a small penis in Hungarian) and “cookie”, of course, their favorite desert and character. To make matters worse, they started fighting over which potty they wanted to use.  London insisted on both – he’d often pee some in one and pee or #2 in the other one pushing Lola off her warmed-up seat. Lola wasn’t easier. At times she preferred the pink potty, another times she would insist on the blue one backside forward or vice versa. They played musical chairs (I mean potties) every night while I played "save the potty and it's contents from spilling" or took a position of defense, trying to retain the status "dry" quo - carpet myself included.      

When they turned two years old, I decided that was “it”. I bought big boy and girl underwear – a set with Sponge Bob and another with Princesses and Fairies and explained LoLo that now they were “big” and there should not be a need to use diapers any longer. I was terrified. I put them on the potty so often, it felt like our days evolved around those two plastic chairs and the smallest room without a window. London and Lola had just discovered numbers (2 being the favorite) and so they would do a count down “Mamma, big kaka, two!!!” … I would nod and we’d carry on sizing up and counting the “stuff”. Three days into demanding training, there was no need for inside diapers, but I still haven’t tried to leave the house without it!

It was probably one of the most nerve-wrecking days of my motherhood. Despite the fact that the weather was good and I had a change of clothing and a set of diapers in my bag, I was worried. We walked down a block and a half when London turned to me and said assertively “kaka”. I panicked! What do I do now, in the middle of 5th Avenue? I stopped the double stroller pulling into the closest parking lot of a bank, proceeded to pull down London’s pants in a hurry, to which he reacted with a puzzled cute little look of “What’s your problem mom?” sorts, then pointed “KAKA!!” .. We were standing just a few steps away from a garbage truck (“kuka” – garbage in Hungarian” ) …

We are now fully trained! With a few accidents enjoying the diaper-free, but travel potty and Elmo toilet seat covers-full life. I am still being hoaxed into many WC trips, LoLo still splits their potty time between the blue and the pink seats, we still count the results, fight for flushing privileges and clap and “hooray” for results. I am impressed! Too bad, being potty trained at 2 is not a resume builder, although I wish it was - I'd be a star by now!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Large Fabric Flower

I've been eyeing those large flower pins for so long, but never got around making them. Until now, when I decided to add a large flower to my 1920's costume for the Dreamland Orchestra's Governor's Island's Flapper picnic. I made two flowers - one for myself and a smaller version for Lola's outfit. 
We dressed up all naughty (I mean nauti(cal) :)))), but this will also be our July 4th wardrobe, I think. 

I love the internet not only for the wealth of information, but also because anything you want to make, there is a pattern for it, that saves your time. I knew how I was going to make the flowers, but didn't have a template until I found them on the GrossgrainFabulous blog 
So, as a first step, download the patterns courtesy of Grossgrain Fabulous blog here ... 

You know, I love shortcuts :), so while the flowers on the blog are truly beautiful, I didn't have the patience to cut out the petals one by one. This is what I did - I took a needle and a thread, sewn a circle in the middle of the petals and pulled it together. I then took a smaller flower petal, sewn around the same way and pulled it together once placed on top. The large flower is built up with 4 layers the same way as described, but you can do more/or less layers, and can add tulle or another material that will add to the structure of the flower. (I didn't have any). 
Lola's smaller flower is made of two small flower petals and a scrapbooking button.

I then cut out a circle of felt for the back, put through a pin as well as a hairpin, hot glued it to the back. Creased the flower again for more structure, used "fray check" to make the flower more stiff (you don't have to). You may leave the middle "nipple" as is and just add a button (Lola's flower) or a bead, or cut into the material, fraying it and glue-gun a scrapbooking brad in the middle!

Lola loved wearing her little flower ... 

And I loved mine in my hair as well as my hat. 
Here we are - photo taken with a really poor quality cell phone ... Use it in your hair or pin on a floppy hat and you've got the 1920's on an instant! (Well, at least I thought so :) 

London was wearing a t-shirt with a sailor collar. I will post the tutorial soon.
Have a great week everyone! I know that this is not the most detailed tutorial you've ever read, but if you have a question just email me and I will help you figure it all out! 

If I don't post more this week, Happy 4th of July everyone! 

Lo(Lo)Ve,  LoLo and LV 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

LoLo's Teepee - tutorial

When I was growing up, my favorite thing was to run to the corn field that was behind my godmother's house, take a blanket, put the blanket on the top of the tall corn stalks and make a pretend house. My friends and I would then bring plastic bottles and cups, snacks, dolls, trucks and more blankets and pillows and spend a day playing house.  Well, we don't have a field behind our house and unfortunately even our deck is at the sad state of repair at the moment, so I thought I'll re-create the atmosphere in the park and instead of blankets-over-corn I'll make a teepee for LoLo's birthday.

Some of my inspirations: 

After many searches, I finally found a page with Teepee I loved and instructions that even I could follow :) HERE.

I really wanted bamboo pillars, but all the garden centers we went to had only the thin, flimsy kind. Home Depot had some wooden dowels, but they were only 4 feet long and I needed at least 6 feet long dowels. We ended up buying 8 pieces of 4 feet dowels and asked to cut 4 in half. Now, I may be crafty but have no clue how to put the two pieces together and as it turns out, neither did the guy working at the wood shop. He suggested using glue to put the dowels together ... uhmmmm .. oookkkaaayyy ... 

Then my father-in-law came up with a genius idea to use pvc pipe joints as connectors and guess what? They are puuuuurfect!!!! Not only because they do hold the dowels together, but also because the dowels can be taken apart and put together again and again ... 

The fabric came from Ikea. I bought 5 yards of the story print a bit more, just to be sure. And 2 yards of the gingham red and white kind. Now, I know this is a tutorial but can I just tell you also the story behind fabric shopping at Ikea?
Well, firstly .. Why isn't there anybody EVER at the fabric counter? 
I first bought only a yard of the gingham, but realized I will need more so we had to make another run to the store. I finally see a girl wondering around .. ask her for fabric and she tells me "Oh, you can just cut it yourself!" What?? Really??? She then moves in a tempo of a snail on a leisure stroll towards the counter. I ask for two yards of the red and white. She cuts a yard and proceeds to measure the other yard. "What are you doing?" I ask politely ... she looks at me with wide surprised face and eyes "Why?? You want two yards together???" Uhmmmm ....  "That would have been preferable, but OK, I'll take a yard only" ... Now came the most challenging part of this exchange! 
"Can I have a yard and a half of this fabric, please??" 
The girl takes the fabric, she measures, turns the roll around, right then left, upside down .. she then points to the table (where the measuring ruler ends at 1 yard, of course) about 3 inches away from the ruler and says "It'll be this much!" .... SERIOUSLY??? If you fell asleep in math class ok, but what happened to logic? "Do you want me to show you how to measure?" I ask .. She nods .... 
"Ahhaaaa that's how you do it???" .... 

Now back to the tutorial ... I love Pink Toes an Power Tools 's tutorial and tent
These are her great notes I used ...
I didn't make a pattern just cut the pieces straight out of the fabric according to the photos above.
The part you should be careful with when cutting, is that the connectors (if you end up using them) need additional width of fabric - something I forgot :)
This is how I cut: I folded the fabric diagonally on the line, pinned and cut.  
I love the little story left to interpretation on it with the fox, the bunnies, the squirrel and the house.
I also made a tie out of the gingham fabric instead of using a rope. The "doorway" is also different from the one on the other blog - mostly because I forgot to cross the two sides, so that it would cover the entrance, but also because I just think the checkers down the middle make it all come together. 
(When you make a mistake crafting just say "it's design" I am told  :))))
So, that's my design ladies and gents! 
Side view 
A teepee is also great for a puppet show!
Don't be intimidated by this project, I promise it's much easier than what it seems like!
And if you don't sew, here is one that's even easier  a "No Sew" kind at Sew, Mama, Sew! :))
And if you absolutely need a pattern, I found one on Amazon HERE for 8.98 USD. 
Aaaand if you want to see how the birthday party turned out go HERE

Happy hiding in your Teepees!

Lo(Lo)Ve, LV

Saturday, June 18, 2011

LoLo Street #2 Birthday Party

If you were wondering where I disappeared, well here ... 
I've been sewing, baking, printing, cutting for LoLo's second birthday party.
2 color cartridges, 7 yards of fabric, 3 Ikea trips, 3 Party City trips and numerous nights of work the results are in ... see for yourself ...   

LoLo is obsessed with all Sesame Street characters (Cookie being on the top of the list), so the theme was given - mommy just had to figure out how to pull it all together. Thank you to my friend, Bird from Bird's Party for designing anything and everything I needed to make it happen!
I have a feeling we will be regular customers years to come :)

This way guys!
Let's get this party started ..... 

The teepee is ready for the performance of the year ... 
Teepee tutorial coming up soon!
 Goodie bags ... Cookie appliqued shorts for girls, a little toy, a water spritzer and balloons.      
Cookie t-shirts for boys
Brown bag lunch for munchkins and adults 
 Roasted turkey, swiss cheese, lettuce sandwich with one half white bread, the other wheat.
Fruit salad with melon, blueberries and grapes. 
Whole wheat blueberry organic muffins baked in an ice cream cone. 
Raisins. Yumm!
 The drinks ... Sesame Street juice boxes for the little once; red and white boxed wine. 
(Wine for adults to withstand the puppet show ... :)
 Wine in disguise.
The magic tree ...
Pompoms, hats (tutorial coming up soon) and a banner.
The guests have arrived ... 
 Please turn off your cell phones and put away your pacifiers, we'll need your participation!
 Big Bird, opening act ... 
 C is for CAKE. 
Thank you Edit for making this deliciousness!
 Here we are ... 
 Sesame Street tattoos - a real hit!
 Just as momma's bloomers!
 Cookie monster was here ... 
 Thank you to all our friends and family for celebrating with us, for all the help in preparations and for making this day so memorable. It wouldn't have been fun without you!
LO(lo)VE, LoLo