Thursday, March 27, 2014

Potty Training at Eleven Months

Piper's first potty adventure!
Yes, you read the title correctly, we are in full-blown potty training mode at our house.  No, this was not a planned scenario, it just sort of happened...because Piper is a baby genius, of course, lol!

My mom potty trained me at 18 months over a weekend with the reward being ruffle panties.  This story has always made me laugh, as I don't think I could handle ruffle on my bum anymore (how uncomfy!), but it did inspire me to want to potty train Piper at an early age.  Additionally, I taught preschool throughout my undergrad career, mostly 3 and 4-year-olds, and nothing is worse than changing a poopy diaper of a kid who should be using the potty on a regular basis.  To one-up my mom, I wanted to have Piper trained by 15 months, a very lofty goal, but one I was curious to try just to see if I could.  My original idea was to buy her a potty for her first birthday and get her used to sitting on it, seeing it, but with no real expectations she would take to it right away.  However, Piper has a mind of her own and this is the story of how things have gone down recently.

Everyone like to read on the potty!
The weekend before last I had to run to Wally World to grab some groceries and baby supplies.  While perusing up and down the baby aisles, we went down one that had a jumble of various boxed items, some of them being potty chairs of different makes and models.  I was not planning on purchasing one that day, but Piper went ballistic for this one with a hippo face on it.  It was nothing special, no fancy noises when the goods hit the bowl, but it did have a book holder and a couple of buttons, one for cheering and one for telling a potty story from the book included.  I was a little shocked that Piper was so adamant about wanting it, so I figured I'd go ahead and buy the damn thing to satisfy her need of something else novel in her life.

The Summer Infant Hippo chair that started it all!
(Find one here)
That Sunday evening, I remembered it was in the car.  I proceeded to retrieve it and get it all set up.  Piper once again got spastic over it, you've seen her videos and know how she can get enthused, right?  So right then and there I stripped her down and sat her on it.  Within 10 minutes she was peeing!  On the very first try!  As a matter of fact, she pee'd in it three more times with no diaper wetting in between before bedtime that night.

Discussing the finer points of peeing with Piper!
And singing potty songs, of course!
I figured it was a fluke, but that decided to put her on the potty the moment she awoke the following morning.  Low and behold, she pee'd instantly.  Then she didn't want to get up, and sat there till she pee'd again a few minutes later.  I guess she knew she hadn't yet emptied her bladder on the first go-round, as children her age don't typically understand the concept or know how to fully empty their bladders all at once like us adults do.  Needless to say, I was ecstatic!  That day I took the potty to work and she continued to use it throughout the day.  I'm not saying she never wet her diaper or anything, but mostly she was using the potty and keeping her diaper relatively unsoiled.

Potty toys are also a great idea to keep her seated and interested!
Since those first couple of days, she has continued with the potty training.  At first she didn't poop for two days, which is totally unlike her, and I figured this was going to pose a problem.  But by day three she figured it out and pooped in the potty, too!  The following day she pooped in her diaper during nap time, and cried of embarrassment, I swear it.  Guess what?  She hasn't pooped in her diaper since!

TMI!  But have to brag on the the first pee-pee!
At this point, she is still wetting her diaper only at certain predictable times.  Of course at night when she sleeps, although she had a totally dry diaper one morning and her diapers for the most part are a lot drier overall in the morning.  She also tends to let a little wee go during mealtimes, nap times, and if she is overstimulated with a lot of commotion, such as when her cousins come over to play.  And sometimes we just simply miss the potty window, as once again I'll reiterate that kids her age cannot yet fully empty their bladder all at once.  For the most part, though, she is staying dry.  She pee's every time we put her on the potty, which is about every 20 minutes right now.  It's a lot of work, but totally worth it.

She really likes the story book the chair came with!
She completely understands the concept of what she is doing.  She applauds, I reward her with a mini marshmallow (I believe in a good reward system), and she oftentimes holds her her pee for long periods of time, such as during her nursing sessions, so she doesn't soil her diaper.  It's weird being in potty training mode with a child who cannot yet tell you when they need to go.  She sometimes will crawl over to the potty when she feels the urge, other times she indicates she needs to go when asked, but mostly we are winging it.

And the two buttons praise and read the story out loud, too!
And she can read along with the story as it is the same in the book!
I put her on the potty as soon as she wakes up in the morning, every 20 or so minutes throughout the day, immediately before and after meals, including nursing sessions, and before bedtime, of course.  She loves to sit on the potty, and knows when she still has some urge in her bladder after the first go-round.  She will sometimes sit on it until she pee's twice, therefore getting used to emptying her bladder fully.  And she definitely has the poop thing down pat.  She hates the feel of poop in her diaper, and I have a feeling there will never be another poopy diaper to change in out household, yay!!!

Pottying makes her extremely happy!
At this point, I have also purchased her some pull-ups, although I swore I would never use them.  I feel they hinder potty training on older kids, not giving them a chance to feel wet and such.  But at Piper's age, they're sometimes a bit easier because they last longer.  With the diapers, the constant doing and undoing the sticky strips ruins more of them than wetting them at this point.  So, having something we can pull up and down is saving on that end of things.  When the weather turns warmer, I'm moving her into the thick training panties so she'll no longer have diapers at all.  I figure once we move to this step, she will finalize her training and accidents will no longer be a part of her day.  Of course she will still wear diapers or pull-ups to bed, I'm not expecting her to be able to go through the night without wetting herself for quite some time, but who knows, she may just surprise me again!

This is the "I'm not done yet" face!
I never expected for Piper to begin potty training so early, nor to initiate it herself.  Everyday I keep waiting for her to decided it was just a passing phase, but everyday she still wants to continue on her potty journey. I know I always brag about her smarts, I think all parents should find things to brag about when it comes to their children, but self-initiated potty come on, everyone has to admit that that's pretty damn smart of her!  Funny thing though, she still isn't walking.  She crawled way early, so I figured she'd do the same when it came to walking, but oh no, she's happy at being able to crawl at 100 miles per hour!  She can stand for a good length of time on her own, and she had taken a few steps before, but she gets so excited she wants to hop and then the whole walking thing just falls apart.  Plus, she has a bit of a pigeon toe thing going with her right foot.  I'm going to buy her a nice set of walking high tops soon to see if we can correct that little issue.  So see, she's not perfect in every way, she has a squirly right foot, hahahahaha!  Oh well, I'd choose early potty training over early walking any day of the week, for sure!

And sometimes it is serious work, lol!
Well then, I think I've covered all the current potty training info for now.  I'm sure she will die of embarrassment one day when she she's all these pics, but I won't worry about that today.  We'll cross that road when we get to it!

Best time to potty is with games and singing...
Or while watching her Baby TV!
Once again, my daughter has amazed me with her smarts and being ahead of the curve.  I wish I could tell people my secret on this one, as I have been asked, but I really don't have one, it all just kind of happened. But don't you know I love being able to brag about it...I'm so shallow that way, hahahahhaha!

Hope you've all enjoyed the post.  Please do us a huge favor and take a second to vote for us over at Top Mommy and Top Baby Blogs.  Also, take a moment to enter the giveaway I'm hosting.  Link to it 
Basically it's a review of some wonderful baby blankets and a plush toy mascot from GooseWaddle along with a giveaway attached.  I wouldn't endorse the products if Piper hadn't fallen head over heels for the gift set she received.  You can win the same gift set, and I promise your child will love the items!  It's easy to enter, there are multiple ways and you can enter daily, and it all ends April 9th, so go get those entries in stat!!!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

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Monday, March 10, 2014

GooseWaddle Gift Set Giveaway and Review!

You're going to want to win this giveaway, I promise!
A few weeks ago I received an email from a wonderful company called GooseWaddle wanting to know if I had any interest in writing a review blog and hosting a giveaway for their baby products (blankets and blankies and also a fabulous plush toy, which I will get to here it a bit).  As you all may know, I have written review posts before, but never as a specific request from a company.  Usually my reviews are written on whims about products I purchase and get excited about.  I have seen other blogs which seem to strictly be product reviews blogs, where the writer receives items from businesses for the sole purpose of writing the review.  I have always wondered how one got to be so lucky as to actually receive a product to "test" and review.  So, admittedly, when I opened the email and saw the request, I got nine kinds of giddy that someone actually wanted my opinion and thought my little blog worthy of writing a review.  I think it's a remarkable honor and I'm humbled in so many ways, just so you know.  I was even more excited that they also wanted me to host a giveaway to go along with the review.  Here's how it works...basically, I receive a product, use it, write a review, and set up a giveaway for the exact same product for one of my lucky readers to win....woohoo!!!  I have done a giveaway via my Facebook page before, but never one that I hosted via my blog.  I thought long and hard about how to best perform this task, and decided the best way to make it accessible to all is to actually add a page to the blog that is specially set up for the task at hand...and that is where you are now. So, without further ramblings, let me get to the whole point of this exciting adventure for Piper and me, our first official product review and blog-hosted giveaway, featuring the lovely items we received from GooseWaddle! (Giveaway entry form located at end of post)

If you have read any of my previous product reviews, found under the To Buy Or Not To Buy header on the blog homepage, you will know that I like to make my reviews personal and include lots of pictures.  I think nothing sells or showcases a product like seeing it in action and/or in use.  So, naturally, I wanted to make sure I got lots of pictures of Piper using her new items.  After all, she is the critic of all things baby related, not me.  If she likes a product, then I like a product.  Good news, she loved the items GooseWaddle sent her!

One of Piper's and Waddles first encounters, while chilling on the large blanket!
Before I get too far along, you may be wondering exactly what Piper received from GooseWaddle.  We received their gift set which included a full-sized baby blanket, a smaller "blankie" for easily toting around (I'll get to our uses of the blankie here in a bit), and an absolutely adorable plush goose whom we named Waddles.  In all, the gift set retails at $105, which I think is totally reasonable based on the high quality of the items, but Piper got to try it all out for free, what a fabulous bonus!  I do want to make it completely clear right here that receiving the items for free by no means swayed my opinion of them.  My praises of a product cannot be bought.  Had I disliked what we received, I would have most likely returned them unused, for I don't feel it would be fair to keep them and then write a negative review.  I like positive things, negativity is not part of this blog, and I will diligently fight to keep it that way.  I just think that is important for my readers to know, just so you all know exactly where I stand regarding requested reviews.  And I sure wouldn't host a giveaway for a product I was not 100% behind, that would be wrong on so many levels!  Anyways, let's get back to the fun!

We received the pink blanket set, and it is awesome!
(Giveaway winner will receive the white set, wanted to keep it gender neutral)
The gift set arrived very nicely packaged. The shipping box had the company's logo featured on the outside, and all items inside were delicately tied with a beautiful yellow ribbon, as you can see in the picture.  Best thing about the yellow ribbon, Piper will be able to use it as a hair ribbon whenever she finally decides to grow some hair.  I adore multi-use items, and ribbons are always one of those in some way, shape, or form. But honestly, even though the packaging was well thought out, the logo adorable, and the shipping box cute as could be, I know what people really want is to hear all about the actual products contained within.  I could spend all day writing about the attention to detail and thought that was obviously put into the GooseWaddle branding, but using the products is where all the fun is at!  Here are some pics so you can see what I'm talking about regarding the packaging, it really is nicely done and obviously not a fly-by-night thrown together idea.  Someone took a lot of time to put special touches on everything, and that I highly respect.

Love the little goose feet tags, such a great idea!
Another view of the packaging, minus Waddles. Very cute, right?
Upon receiving our items, we of course immediately ripped into the package and immersed ourselves in all the goodies held within.  The softness of the blankets was more than expected, and we rubbed our faces and hands along the fluffy main areas while yumming the satiny outside edges.  Okay, here comes necessary story time...

Piper checking out the goodies!
Both my older brothers, as babies and toddlers, had to have satin edges on all their yum blankets.  My oldest brother was actually so particular about this that my mom had to break open blanket packages while shopping in stores so he could determine which blankets had exactly the right texture to fit his yumming needs.  Yumming, by the way, is a term my family uses that refers to the monotonous rubbing motion one uses to put oneself to sleep.  My brothers used the satin edges of their baby blankets, I used a variety of different things, and Piper has her own yum habits, too.  She likes to rub Pig's ears (her #1 lovey), if she is nursing she uses the opposing breast and/or nip (not so comfortable at times), and she has now taken to using the satin edges and soft middle of her GooseWaddle blankets, too.  I'm very happy to report that the satin edges passed the yum test, even my oldest brother said so when he examined them at the office...that's some high praise right there!

Lovely logo, awesome satiny edges!
Now, let me get back to the softness of the inner area of the blankets.  Oh my goodness!  I am in no way exaggerating when I say that their blankets are like fluffy little clouds to the touch.  I think the best endorsements for this are the statements that came from my mom and grandmother.  They both wished GooseWaddle also made blankets in adult sizes so they could have their very own to wrap up in.  Are you listening GooseWaddle?  We need adult sized versions!  I swear if I had one I would be found curled up in it all the time.  I constantly keep a cuddle blanket on the sofa, and none of the current ones even come close to competing with the softness of the GooseWaddle ones!  I love nursing Piper on the sofa so that I can wrap her up in the GooseWaddle blanket and subsequently huddle underneath it with her.  I'm serious folks, they're remarkably soft, I'm actually yumming the "blankie" (smaller sized one) right now as I write this. Yes, yumming it helps me concentrate and stay focused on the task at hand, and serves as a constant reminder that I do truly adore this blanket.

Totally cozy to the max!
She adores this blanket!
Perfect blanket to wrap up in while swinging and watching her stories!
Speaking of the "blankie" blanket, this is simply a smaller scale version of the full-sized baby blanket.  Piper and I have found many uses for it.  First off, we keep it in the bed with us at night so it absorbs my scent. That way, when she carries it with her on outings where the big blanket is just too much to handle, she has a yummy, mommy-smelling version to tote along.  Also, Piper is moving into the wanting-a-pillow-to-sleep-with stage.  I have yet to purchase her a baby pillow, but since she shares my bed at night, I let her use part of my Snoogle to rest her head on until she falls fully asleep.  I lay the GooseWaddle blankie under her head and on the top portion of the Snoogle, that way she has a very soft place to rest her head, as the Snoogle doesn't have anything but the standard feeling pillow case on it.  I like knowing Piper if comfortable when she sleeps, so it is definitely a bonus item that now I wouldn't want to live without.  We also use it during pretend play.  Her baby Daisy can use it as a blanket, Waddles also does the same, and I'm sure she's put Pig in the blanket at some point.  It's also great for games of peek-a-boo.  It's handy when traveling in the car, as she can yum and cuddle with it and use it as a head rest in her car seat.  Believe me, the smaller "blankie" is wonderful and I'm positive we will continue to find new ways to use it as time passes.  I see it as a future Barbie comforter, too.  Barbie would kill to have it on her Dream House bed, I'm sure of that!

Perfect smaller sized blankie for all sorts of uses!
Now let's get to Waddles, the plush goose who is the GooseWaddle mascot.  First off, Piper is a stuffed animal fanatic.  She comes by it honestly, as I was exactly the same way growing up.  I, as a matter of fact, still have my three favorite loveys from childhood sitting right here in my room, the oldest and best being my teddy bear Pede whom I've had since I was three years old.  But that's getting off track.  Piper, upon first seeing Waddles (the name we gave the goose), immediately gave him a big hug and kiss.  She kisses all her loveys, so he was adopted into the fold and became part of her much revered lovey family upon first sight. Now I will admit, he didn't stand a chance of taking Pig's top honored place as her best and most loved lovey, but she adored Waddles nonetheless.  And let me tell you, that Waddles is a cutie-pie!  I love the fact that he has two different colored feet, one orange and one yellow, and wears a big pair of navy blue glasses. Piper was instantly fascinated with his glasses, since she is always trying to play with her Nana and Papa's glasses, along with any other people's glasses she comes across, so she immediately recognized them for what they were and tried to steal them away.  Good thing they are on securely, because Waddles would have been sans glasses very quickly.  If she ever happens to get them off of him, however, he'll be just as adorable without them, so no worries.

I just love him!
And so does Piper!
I should state now that Waddles is no ordinary goose in this family.  Everything we do has some sort of educational purpose mixed in with the fun.  Since he had glasses, we of course read a book that night about a little girl who got her first pair of glasses.  We use Waddles to learn about birds, their body parts as compared to mammals and other types of animals, their habitats, their noises, he gets to be a part of old MacDonald's farm a lot, and we also use him to learn about colors since he has different colored feet and blue glasses.  I believe that every toy should be educational in some way, so we are still discovering ways in which Waddles can help us teach Piper things.  Oh, and by the way, by us I mean my mom and dad since we live in a multi-generational household by choice.  I'm looking at Waddles right now, and he looks so cute with the big yellow ribbon tied around his neck in a big bow.  He's a cutie-pie!

Did I mention he's helping her learn to walk?
He fits in her stroller perfectly!
And he can carry the blankie, too!
She's pushed him for miles now, it seems!
Don't get me wrong, we aren't a stuffy overly educating family to the point where we don't know how to have a good time.  Fun is our main goal around here.  As you will see from the following pictures, we can pretty much create a game out of anything.  Throw a GooseWaddle blanket into a laundry basket for padding and cuddly softness, add in a goose and a "blankie" just for fun, tie a yellow ribbon on it, and next thing you know you've created a wonderful baby playpen that musters up uncontrollable giggles for the whole family!  At one point, we even put Waddles under the basket like he was in a cage, and don't you know Piper went to the rescue with much gusto.

Can't get any happier than that!
Well, maybe a little happier :)
And if you cuddle real close...
You get even happier!
Such a cute pair!
See how she looks at him with so much love!
And the blanket makes for a cozy makeshift play area!
She likes to study Waddle's features!
Blankets can be like capes, too!
And induce lots of giggles!
Flying air kisses!
How is he floating in mid-air?
Oh, it's Nana!
Smiles all around!
We were playing toss and catch Waddles...great shot!
Doesn't she look cozy and happy as can be?
Waddles is awesome!
Everyone needs to enter the giveaway to get their own!
Best buds!
Piper's excitement levels were off the chart!
The Waddles in a cage game :)
Piper to the rescue!  No loveys left behind!
Rescued at last!
Big hugs!
Besides all the indoor fun and cuddles we've had with all our GooseWaddle goodies, we've also taken them to the great outdoors for some neighborhood adventures!  The blanket is perfect for wrapping up in on the colder days when going out for a stroll, and of course stroller buddies are always a necessity, and Waddles is a great stroller buddy.

This was a particularly warm day, so it was just the loveys and Piper...
look at them kisses!
The glasses fascinate her!
And encourage more kisses...I think Pig was jealous in this shot!
New friends are good!
So now that you've all seen all the GooseWaddle goodies in action, let's get to the nitty-gritty!  Overall, I would rate this gift set a five out of five star set if I was inclined to use stars as a rating system.  I think the most important thing to remember, is that the blankets were very well made, soft as could be, allowed two different textures for yumming, had an adorable logo embedded into one of the corners, and Piper has now adopted them as her favorite blankets to use when traveling in the car, when taking her naps, when cuddling during our breastfeeding sessions, and as an all around yum-buddy to carry along as a soother.  As for Waddles the goose, he's also very well made, is cute as a button, is unique in design and color scheme (remember the two different colored feet), and he is easily portable.  While he did not replace Pig as the #1 lovey in the household, I doubt any lovey could do that, it's just an impossible standard to live up to.  I do know Waddles grows on Piper every day, and I can see him being on the VIP guest list of future tea parties.

I know my reviews are atypical in nature, as I like to give my readers a true look into our everyday lives and how we make use of items in our household.  We like to get creative and take a multi-purpose approach to using everything we come across.  I am sure your family could discover many ways to use the items provided in the gift set we are giving away in conjunction with GooseWaddle.  With that said, I think it's time to cover some pointers about the giveaway and get you all to the entry process, because you truly don't want to miss out on the opportunity to win this amazing stuff!!!

The prize for the giveaway, as stated before, is the GooseWaddle gift set valued at $105!  That's a great value, wouldn't you say?  The set includes:

1-  Full sized baby blanket in white

Here's a pic of Piper under her blanket :)
1-  Cuddle sized "blankie" for easy toting and yumming (also in white)

Here's a pic of Waddles on the cuddle "blankie"
1-  Stuffed goose, whom you may name whatever you wish, Waddles was simply our own made-up moniker.  I do give you permission to use the same name, as it is quite fitting, at least we think so.

Here is a pic of Waddles with the whole shebang in white!

FYI- I chose the giveaway to feature the white blankets because I wanted it to be gender neutral.  I'm sure you all understand this choice.

Before I get to the actual entry form, I promise it's coming soon, I would like to highlight one very special thing that GooseWaddle does for needy children everywhere.   They have a Buy 1, Give 1 Campaign.  This taken directly from their webpage:

GooseWaddle’s “Buy 1, Give 1” Campaign

Everyone knows GooseWaddle Blankets and Blankies are the perfect way to warm baby. But did you know we’re also warming hearts? With our “Buy 1, Give 1” campaign, we’re doing good and making a difference. For every blanket we sell, we donate a receiving blanket to a child in need. Children everywhere deserve to feel loved and be nestled in cozy softness. So we’re doing our part. By buying a GooseWaddle Blanket, Blankie or set, you’re playing a part, too, and helping us share the warmth of GooseWaddle — worldwide. From all of us at GooseWaddle, thank you!
- See more at:

I am in awe of this type of contribution they are making to children across the globe, and I think regardless if you are a winner of the giveaway, you should consider this campaign when choosing a blanket for your own little bundle of joy.  I love when a company makes it easy to give back, that is what it is all about...paying if forward!

One more thing, please also take a moment to check out GooseWaddle's Facebook page and become a fan.  It's actually one of only two mandatory steps to entering the giveaway, but I wanted to give an additional shout out anyway.

Okay, now let's get you all entered!  As you will notice, not every entry is counted equally.  Some entry types are worth more entry points than others.  The more points your rack up, the better chances you have at winning.

One last thing, please be understanding that this is my first official giveaway via my blog.  I am learning the ropes and hope you all will bear with me if there are any glitches or hiccups along the way.  If you have any problems with any of the entry types, please do not hesitate to let me know via comment or email at!

Now let's get this party started!  Everyone has till April 9, 2014 to enter and the winner will be announced on April 10, 2014, Piper's birthday!  Her gift to you on her special day!

And don't forget my usual spiel, which will by no means count towards the giveaway entries!  Just vote for the blog just to be nice :)

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

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Surprise Peek-A-Boo video!