Happy First Birthday to our son, Leeland Thaddeus! We hit a grand slam with you, kid!

Last week our youngest El turned 1. It was a really exciting time for all of us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had baseball themed parties for our other boys when they turned one. But, this was the first time we had a birthday during baseball season. We decided that we would celebrate with immediate family-only, that’s 28 people, with 24 that live in town and 4 that live out of town. So, we had a small party for 24 people! WHEW! It was tons of fun. Here are pictures from our afternoon/evening. We served hotdogs, chili dogs (I found a really great chili recipe online for chili dogs, which I normally don’t eat. But, I ate 2 cause they were delicious!) chips, fruit and fresh homemade lemonade. After dinner, we sang to the birthday boy. Notice how he covered his ears when we sang to him! It was hilarious. I think it was just too loud, but he never stopped smiling. Then, we had cake and headed over to the Ballpark to watch the Astros play. After the game, they have a fireworks show on Friday nights. So, we stayed and watched that. It was a Queen inspired show and it was probably the best fireworks show we have seen there. It was really impressive and ended with Bohemian Rhapsody. Awesomeness.
So, everything was great. We had a wonderful time. And, Leeland managed to stay awake and didn’t go to bed until 1130 that evening. Waking at nearly noon the next day. He’s pretty cool.
So, we want to say happy birthday to our little Leeland, lovebug, little boy. You are amazing. We are so proud of you. We love you, we love being your parents and we love watching you grow. You rock, kid!

Me with my 1 year old son, Leeland. LOVE!
Grandmother giving him cereal before the party


Cutie on his new ride

New present from Grandmother and Grandfather

Birthday boy with El Momma

The food was delicious if I do say so myself.

Happy boy with his Jiddy

with my Jiddy

Playing cars with my cousin

Look at my two teeth!

the crowd gathers for the birthday song

almost ready to sing

the song begins

covering his ears

covering his ears for the birthday song

the crowd waits

ready to blow out the candles

Big boy!


Grandma love

You’re one!

bitter cake?

Princess T and the birthday boy ready for the game!

daddy’s little boy

the party at Minute Maid Park

our view

can you say “cotton candy?”


Fireworks with Momma

Ready for Birthday Fireworks!

Rockin  out with Christian to Queen during the fireworks show!

Gabriel & Mason’s First Birthday Party in California

To end our amazing California vacation, we celebrated the first birthday of our twin nephews- Mason & Gabriel. The party was on the patio of a Mexican restaurant. We all had a great time. And it was a perfect party for the kids. There was even an appearance by Spiderman (who sounded a bit like Gilbert Gottfried at times.) Which is really funny because our kids know his voice from the movie Aladdin- he is the voice of the bird.

It was wonderful to be able to celebrate their birthday. We were able to be in California for their birth, and to be able to come back for their first birthday, was such a special time for us. We are especially thankful to Moustapha’s mom and dad for including our family in this trip. We had a great time!

Potty Training

We had two different approaches when potty training the boys.

The first one was the “wait until he is ready” approach. We decided to wait until he gave us the signs that he was ready. We were also inching toward a date certain (age 3) at which he needed to be potty trained for school.
Honestly he seemed more interested in letting me know that he wasn’t going to use the potty than actually using the potty. So, as age 3 approached, I became ready and we moved forward. At 2 months prior to his 3rd birthday, we kicked potty training into high gear. He definitely was resistent. I remember one time knowing that he needed to go potty and sitting in the floor of the bathroom while he sat on the potty (resisting going) for an hour and a half. Eventually, he gave in. And boy, did I cheer.
We used the “sticker method” with Bakri. I hung a ribbon vertically in the bathroom with a sign at the top that said “Bakri goes to the Potty.” Everytime Bakri used the potty, he got a sticker and I added one to the ribbon. He loved watching the stickers increase.
With our second son we tried the “teach him early” approach. We definitely didn’t force it, but it was a natural fit since we were training our older child.
Our younger son was 14 months old when we started this and so he got a sign and a sticker ribbon on the wall too. I also started sitting Maddux on the potty when he was really young, because I could tell he needed to go. This made him very comfortable on the potty. By 17 months, Maddux was mostly potty-trained and by his second birthday he was completely potty trained. He really responded well to the “sticker method.” But, most of all, I think for Maddux, it worked because it’s all he really knew and it was presented to him at an early age.
Sitting or standing?- We chose to train the boys to sit. However, they both quickly changed to standing once they were comfortable using the potty regularly.

Pullups or no pullups at night?- at first, we put Maddux in a “protector” at night until he went several days with a dry “protector” aka pullup in the morning. I’ve found that calling something by a different name can sometimes make all the difference.
Most things are easier with the second child, because you have the first child as the example and you’ve been through it once. This was the case with potty-training for us. We’re definitely going to start early with Trinity. Having just one child in diapers is awesome!