Monday, September 27, 2010

Potty Panic--finally!

This child is growing up way too fast...
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
Even though his gene pool is deep, it's bound to put him in braces and glasses early on. Good thing we've determined he looks good in Daddy's specs. First he's in diapers, and then he's walking around in big boy underwear! Or not...

I've spent the last two years having relatively sure footing with my parenting decisions. I've seen a lot of my choices as sort of non-negotiables and not felt supreme pressure or concern that I am "doing it wrong." Lack of militant sleep training, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, delayed introduction of solids, clothing choices, behavior management…after pouring over tons of literature, I still feel relatively confident in Eric and my parenting choices. This doesn’t mean I don’t have waves of anxiety, concern or worry, but I try to recognize that our family has established preferences and is slowly figuring out what works for us. And, the truth is, what works for one child does not always work for another. And what works for your family, may not work for ours.

But, there is one area of parenting that sends me into a sheer panic. A potty panic.

I don’t know what it is about potty training that gets my own panties in a bunch. (Ugh, I hate the word panties). It’s not that I am afraid Miles will never be continent, but I feel this overwhelming shroud of judgment blanket my shoulders when I acknowledge that my almost 2.5 year old isn’t out of diapers.

First, let’s establish that I hate the word “potty;” not nearly as much as “panty,” but it is on my list of least favorite parent words. "Toilet training,” even though alliterative, doesn’t have the same punch as “potty training.” Plus, it’s just the dialect these days. Potty chair, potty pants, potty mouth…potty PRESSURE.

And to be honest, I am not inundated with an extraordinary amount of external potty pressure. My pediatrician is not pushing us to get Miles on the pot any time soon. The childcare is not concerned. My friends aren’t disgusted Miles roams with a soiled diaper. But I think I have adopted anticipatory pressure—like I am 2 breaths away from having my parenting license revoked because Miles is still in diapers. What did I do wrong? What kind of parenting failure did I commit? It really ignited a few months back around Miles's 2nd birthday when I read somewhere in my Google blogosphere that a particular persons’ son, a few months younger than Miles, was doomed if he was not trained by 2.5—according to her pediatrician.

And that is when the panic was born.

Please, don’t let me be one of those nervous Moms who either sends her son to potty boot camp, or puts so much pressure on him he gets stool holding disease! (That is actually a problem. The name just escapes me. Keep reading though, it’ll emerge.)

Food and genitals. Those are two areas I don’t want to create “issues” about. It’s never too early to create a positive and healthy environment about eating behavior—even for boys. Our society has become so confused and pathological about food, I am scared for today's children. And I don’t want to be that family who pretends like certain body parts don’t exist, or if they do, they need to use code names for discussion. (Did you go tinkle? Did you wipe your wee wee? *Shudder* The W family who I babysat growing up used to speak in “wee wees,” “pee pees,” and “boom booms.”) I’m not registering anyone in our family for nude camp or anything, but I think our society struggles with accepting anatomy while at the same time exploiting sexuality. Discussion point to be saved for another day. But we teach Miles all of the body parts. And make no attempt to distinguish some as "naughty" or "secretive" right now. He's just too little to make the distinction. Currently he loves the fact that he has "Two ni-hulls." We count them every night.
From Potty time...excellent

Although, in full disclosure,  I have an allergy to the word/letters "BM." I know I've talked about this here before. I don't know what it is about it, it just bothers me. So I stick with "poop."

Related tangent: Miles, who is talking up a storm these days (my favorite two phrase we hear multiple times a day, "Daddy pulp kids run today" and him saying "Mino Yighnis Heintz". Pulp is "help" I guess.), is at the age where he thinks it is funny when he makes blunders. He'll put puzzle pieces in the wrong area and smirk and say "GNOME!!!" (That's "no" in his language.) Well, it extends to the misalignment of genitals. He thinks it is hilarious to say "Daddy gine gine!!!!" and "Mommy pee peen!!!!" At first, Eric and I would laugh...and then we realized it would become a dangerous game. So, now we work extra hard to correct him without our own smirks emerging. It's totally Kindergarten Cop over here. "Miles, boys have a penis and girls have a vagina." And I give him a free pass for using approximations of the words because that's just how he talks. But Eric and I consistently use the correct terminology--although, we do talk about urine looking like yellow water, which is now what he calls it consistently. Ooops.

Miles is just not ready to be fully potty trained.

Which means, I am not ready to be trained, because I think a lot of premature training is parent training, not potty training.

No, I am not lazy. I rotate my child’s clothing in his closet so each item gets equal “wearing…” you think I wouldn’t have a system up and running for potty training?

Why isn’t he ready you ask??? Here we go:

1. Remember Mr Never Nude? A few months back, Miles loved scampering around in his diaper, but held his footing when we asked to take his diaper off and sit on our Bjorn potty. We've only had a month or two of bare bottomed potty riding.

2. Miles does not tell us when his diaper is wet, and usually lies to us when we ask if his diaper has poop in it. Especially if he is playing something fun. We do get occasional notification of poop...and he does ask to look at his poop, and always says "poop goes in potty," but I guess not his poop.

3. He’s a boy.

From Potty time...excellent
Those are my top reasons, supported by none other than my personal baby advice line nurse, RL: a highly coveted PNP and doctoral candidate in the Baltimore area (and just happens to be a great friend from Grad school). She’s on speed dial at my house. I was given a lifetime pass of child health questions when Eric was diagnosed with cancer (along with an enormous package of amazing gifts like a play doctor’s kit, a potty book, Livestrong paraphernalia…). A while back, she sent me the most reassuring and informative e-mail. I'll give you the abridged's too informative not to share.

  • Boys train later than girls. It is fine to wait until 2.5 before you even consider training.
  • The child needs to be verbal saying things like “I need to pee” or that his diaper is wet/dirty. If he is not doing this, he is NOT ready. Miles will give us the occasional poop warning, but never the pee.

  • Parents who are stressed about training have the worst time with their children, and children can end up with encopresis (stool holding). That’s the word! Stay chill and relax. Toddlers can only control so much. Don’t let it become a power struggle. Here is where I need to do some more work.
And some techniques:

Between 18 months and 2 yrs introduce the potty chair. Done! We’ve had one for quite some time. 

BABYBJĂ–RN Potty Chair, BlueBetween 2-2.5 yrs, bring Miles to the bathroom with us and let him watch us. Start introducing potty themed stuff- casually introduce- do NOT push them on him. Well, that whole no door on our bathroom works like a charm for this technique. That, and anyone with children under the age of 2 knows you never go alone, unless they are asleep. I think I always have Miles AND Felix in the room with me now. And Miles has a few potty books, and one he asks to read over and over (just happens to be the one from RL!)

If at any point during this he sits on the toilet. MAKE A HUGE DEAL. First time he sat without his diaper, I think we did the truffle shuffle.

If he pee's on toilet make an EVEN BIGGER DEAL. First time he did it about a month ago, we didn’t know what to do. We had just been sitting naked on the potty chair for so long, I guess I didn’t think someday he might just actually use it. But he did. And we had nothing to celebrate with. Except Eric’s gummy candy. And that’s when Miles had his first real candy. And he gagged. And I secretly was happy because who wants to eat something again that makes you gag? And then he said, “More please!” We quickly moved to sticker rewards. Urine= 1 sticker, Poop = 2 stickers.
From Potty time...excellent
Remember that whole healthy environment around food? I am not sure I like the idea of eating on the toilet. As you can see, we've had a few good sessions!

If he stools on the toilet- THROW A PARTY!!! ;-) And by party, do you mean taking a picture with Eric’s camera phone and sending it to the grand parental units? How about my husband then showing it to the childcare director who I think assumed the picture would be of miles on the potty—not what was IN the potty. That was our first poop...and currently our last.

 If at any point he starts resisting, give it up for 3 weeks and start at the beginning again. It should not be a battle- parents biggest mistake. Luckily, he loves sitting on the potty before bath.

And some other words of wisdom:

Never sit him on the toilet for more than 5 minutes at a time. Miles voluntarily chooses to sit for more than 5 minutes, but any time he gets up and says he is done, we let him get up.

Make sure you and daycare are on the same page. Potty training rules and rewards should be consistent or else the child get confused. We are consistent. We are consistently of the same opinion that it is a little too early to crack the potty whip.

Never punish failures, only reward success! I feel very strongly about this. I will try not to cast judgment on others who choose to relinquish rights/privileges for kids or punish when they have accidents, but...wait, I am going to cast judgment. I really do think it's wrong. Accidents happen. 

Night time training is not realistic in boys until after 3. Oh joy.

It is a process, but it should never be a battle. Allow the child some control over the situation and you will have a much more successful time.

Phew. I feel a lot better. And I may just go back to my own post to remind myself of these facts.

Closer to 3 we will ramp it up and perhaps try a bare bottom weekend. We might have to graduate to more refined stickers, too.

giggle Better Basics Striped Toddler Training Pants (Organic Cotton) - Pink/OrangeAnd I am 90% confident we are not going to go the Pull-Ups route. I think we’ll go to straight to some cute training underwear. I kind of think Pull-Ups might be confusing...kind of a glorified diaper…and that whole landfill thing. Yeah, so I might be doing more laundry than usual…but that’s okay.

Until then, we are going to keep rocking the potty chair at night. And I am going to keep reminding myself that being out of diapers at 2.5 is not always a sign of genius, or a mark of good parenting.  We'll just keep working on things over here at the Team Heintz household...including Mommy's attempt at releasing the self-induced pressure. Maybe I should try to relish these last few months of diapers, when we aren't running to public restrooms with urine soacked 2T khakis...oh wait, there's still Felix.
From Potty time...excellent

RL--The proverbial check is in the mail...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Intermission extended

Mommy is headed to California for business for 3 days, so let the intermission continue. (Long intermission means that the lights flickering telling you to get back to your seats won't happen while you are 10 deep in the potty line.)

Speaking of the potty, the post is still on its way, but until then, a teaser or two.
From Potty time...excellent
From Potty time...excellent

Hilarious, no?

Keep your fingers crossed 3 days away from my babies will go smoothly. Pumping cross country makes my anxiety sore...and poor Felix is inconsolable multiple times a night with this darn ear infection. Eric is going to have a trying 2 nights...Daddy of the year award will be presented Thursday night. My house.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Still working on the potty post (read--I haven't had time to sit down to write it. Things are nutty over here. Like, I almost repeated my mommy fail and drove away with a toddler unbuckled today. Good thing he kindly screamed "MOMMY STRAPS!" just in time...thank goodness that kid can talk now.) Don't abandon me friends...I'll be back. And it will be good.

In the meantime, enter my brother's kid's CD giveaway!!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Pictoral Intermission

I haven't cultivated the next installment (Potty Panic) quite completely, so you'll have to take a brief intermission and enjoy some photos of our first real train ride at Stone Mountain. Miles was so excited to get on the train, and then when his dream was realized, he was most content holding my hand and saying "choo choo" with the most engaged spirit. I think he was overwhelmed by it all...but got off with what Eric and I predicted, "more choo choo please."

Here we are, getting ready for the train ride. You'll notice remnants of Miles's Marist tattoo. I am not a huge fan of pasting dye on my child's skin, but it was for a good cause--Daddy's big XC meet. And even though the darn thing doesn't wash off easily, it provides Miles his own personal "M for Miles" that he is delighted to tell everyone about. (And I learned today that he can pick his own name out of a group finally!)
From Stone Mountain
Daddy and Miles
From Stone Mountain
My attempt at a staged photo
From Stone Mountain
Mommy and her little boy
From Stone Mountain
Felix doesn't know what to think of the train
From Stone Mountain
The first real picture I think my "baby" looks like a real little boy.
From Stone Mountain
...which leaves me with only one baby, now.
From Stone Mountain

Off to bed. If you need me, call me at midnight...3am, 5am and 6am.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mommy Fail

From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010

Here Miles is representing the "Daddy Fail." I couldn't let him get off of the hook! This is how I found my child on his cot after a nap. No pants, disheveled, peanut butter lipstick, and with only one water shoe on. Outside of the strategically strewn about hair, it is exactly how he was put down for his nap. When asked why he didn't take his shoe off, Daddy tried to claim Miles wanted it on. Upon further investigation, Mommy determined that was a lie. I will say that it resulted in a 2.5 hour nap...perhaps not such a fail after all.

I had one of those "wake up on the wrong side of the bed" days recently. And it wasn't even a Monday.

Actually, I woke up in the wrong bed.  

Before your mind goes to deep dark places and you think that the 1 glass of wine and lemon drop from the wedding last weekend sent me into a tail spin and I turned into Mama Gone Wild, you'll be glad to know the extent of my partying life ended at singing Hey Ya! in my husband's face while forcing him to dance with me well after the dizziness of the glass of wine wore off. I could blame it on the Swedish fish at the reception's candy bar, but the truth is I just had some well pent up dance fever.

And by wrong bed, I mean the guest bed. And I was alone...minus the 8 month old in the Bjorn travel crib. (Second child syndrome: Felix's room is a partially decorated guest bedroom, and he sleeps in a travel crib next to the AC vent with a blanket on one corner to avoid potential arctic blasts. But I do love that crib...) Those 6-7 hour stretches of sleep are a thing of the past. It's so "last season" is what Felix told me. Has he seen my wardrobe? I have clothing in there that has gone from passe to tragically hip, to vintage, to about ready to dissintegrate. I'm never one on the cutting edge anymore. So, let's get back to those delcious nights of sleep from last season, huh?

On second thought, maybe he is angry he doesn't have the perfectly coordinated modernisto room that we spent ages on for Miles.

Or maybe he's just a typical baby who falls into the category of non-sleeper-through-the-nighters.

Regardless, I've had the pleasure of getting up 3-4 times at night with Felix since his ear infection. I'm thinking the increase in night wakings is because of an undiagnosed PTED. Post traumatic ear disorder. It happened last time. We had a spell of good sleep, then WHAMO--the ear infection, and then he got addicted to waking and nursing multiple times a night. Currently I stumble into the guest room to nurse him, and then just collapse on the guest bed, getting up to nurse him a handful of times. Most mornings I wake up completely unaware of where I am--even if I have just nursed him an hour before. It's like once 6am hits, I have amnesia and have no idea where I am. It's pitch black, and the fan/white noise generator is blowing so fiercely that I could easily be convinced I am in the cargo storage area of Singapore Air being abducted and taken on a marathon trip through Asia. Sleep depriviation makes my mind ripe for distortion. It's scary to say that I can completely understand how people falsely confess to crimes when they have been interrogated for days without sleep. Just don't go asking me to admit to any crimes...I'm going on years of sleep deprivation.

So my morning started off with me in utter confusion. Par for the course, but I'm never set up for success you see. And then the Tom's of Maine toothpaste was vacationing in the other bathroom and I was too lazy to retrieve it from sitting poolside, so I had to use the old Crest baking soda tube, which strangely leaves my mouth feeling dirtier than it arrives. And the next thing I know, a glob of toothpaste is sitting on the floor--staring me straight in the face.


I looked down and said outloud, "of course that happened." No tissues to speak of and no TP to help me wipe up the mess, which I already knew because I had decided not to use the bathroom 2 minutes earlier when I spied that the toilet paper was on vacation, too. Not even the temptation of better toothpaste AND toilet paper could get me to walk 3 seconds to the  2nd bathroom. I was asking for that glob on the floor.

And then there were the pooplosions. (No, not from me!) For some reason I gave myself license to go back to putting Felix in cloth before his antibiotics were completed. I think it was the change in air pressure when I was in the cargo space of that plane--it messed up some of my neural wirings. Well, he decided to blow out of his diaper in a not so delicate way. It's one thing to mess the hotel sheets--those got changed every day. But it was on our nice cream set of comfy organic sheets I had just changed. Yeah, so I change my kids everywhere BUT a changing table. That's one of my deep secrets. It's just a lot easier to do on the bed when you are scrambling around to get ready in the morning. But folks, I even have a pad under him--that's how explosive it got.

So I have Squirmy McSquirms-A-Lot trying to help change his diaper himself as he always does by getting his paws all in his personal business, and the next thing I know, there is poop on every limb of his body. Mr Observant older brother keeps yelling "BABY POOP!" Yes, I know dear...I don't know why, but I just didn't need a running commentary. And I was mad that my teeth felt like they had socks on them. And Eric was in the other room, completely unaware of the chaos.

This incident was also on the heels of the night before when Miles pooped at the dinner table multiple times in like 5 minutes. It was the kind of poop that you feel awkward witnessing. Eric and I had to look away because it seemed sort of like a private moment for him. The struggle resulted in a sound that we both responded with "Uh-oh."  Low and behold, this kid blew through HIS diaper onto his chair. That hasn't happened in ages. I'm not sure if it was something he ate...but I think having 2 huge blow outs in less than 24 hours just made me less tolerant.

With some prayer, we wrestled through the morning and the kids got off to school. I went to work, and between the hours of 8am-4pm, things were professionally nutty. Incidents won't be shared here, but I knew that it was still one of those "woke up in the guest bedroom days" when I lost the bathroom lottery...twice.

It's pedestrian knowledge that the first and last stall in a bathroom tend to the the cleanest least dirty. I hate public restrooms. So I have been known to glom onto facts like that and use them to direct my bathroom decisions. I walked into the bathroom and the first stall I went into had the water rippling.  Like it had recent visitors. There was someone in another stall, and the one free one that I was about to play musical stalls with was stolen from me from a co-worker. I just knew my seat was going to be warm, so I employed the hover. (Too much information? You've all been there...)

Don't you convince yourself you are the first one to use the stall each day? I do. That's the only way I can get myself to use them. I was pumping myself full of tea and Gatorade all day, so I knew I had another chance at the lottery. AND I knew that the bathrooms got cleaned mid-day. But trial #2? Rippling water. This time all other stalls were occupied C'mon. All I wanted was a fresh toilet. Rather, a toilet I convinced myself was fresh. Is that a lot to ask?

The 24 hours of being "off" was defined by this stellar Mommy Fail that I am so shaken about, that perhaps I'll do a little reverse interrogation of my own at 6am and convince myself it DIDN'T happen:

I picked Miles and Felix up from school. Miles now gets into the car and into his car seat on his own. It is one of the best recent "big boy developments" because I have free hands to deal with Felix. I open Miles's door, give him a slight tush push, and he is off. Then I go to Felix's side, put him in, and walk back around to strap Miles up and shut his door. Well, after this day's tush push, I shut Miles's door in an uncharacteristic move. So after I strapped Felix in, I got in the driver's side and pulled away. Felix was tired and started crying. Miles HATES it when he cries in the car (don't we all) and started whining "baby ky-ing!" And as I was driving through the school's campus, Miles started wailing like he doesn't usually do. I finally looked in the back seat to see what he was doing (really, I was going to turn around and give him a firm SHUSH) and noticed he was completely unstrapped, halfway out of his seat, and scared out of his mind why he didn't have his seatbelt on.


So I pulled over by the practice fields, strapped him in and drove home feeling awful. Granted, I drove about a few hundred feet on the school's campus, but who does that? Me.

Looking back, that day was a comedy of errors and frustrations. We all have those days. (Right? Please tell me I am not the only one.) After an incredibly overwhelming first half of our year, I have been so appreciative of just about everything. Maybe not feeling centered, but certainly feeling blessed, grateful and encouraged. But as life slowly transforms into a less worrisome period, I find myself feeling guilty for having Mommy Fail days. And this most recent day wasn't even that bad. It was just as if every element of my day was "off" if I was wearing one water shoe all day. And that the water shoe had an aggravating rock in it. And the day I just recounted was not the first, and will not be the last of the days I am frustrated. But I find myself thinking, how dare I even *think* of being frustrated when we should be grateful for so much after such an awful time? 

But I cannot help it. There are days I don't want to be tested...I don't constantly thank God for all of our blessings...days I find myself short with my family, and just itching for bed time. No matter what, the second a tush hits the water for bath time, any day gets infinitely better. It's so symbolic for me to have a sort of cleansing or baptism each night. And my children tend to be in the sweetest most delightful moods, which helps tremendously. And story/cuddle time warms my heart so easily. I just love that time...

The way I deal with Fail days is to write about it. My blog may not be fancy. I don't have a groupie following, or offer giveaways, or even sage advice. But I do provide honesty (and an over abundance of pictures of my children).  Just wait until the next installment on Potty Panic.

There are days that I just feel like such a rotten mother, wife, employee...I wonder if any other mother has those days; if it is overwhelming for anyone else? Or is it lollipops, sleep filled nights and perfectly behaved children for everyone but me?

The challenge now is for me to be okay with having those days. To shed the veil of guilt I have that constantly whispers "but you have way too much to feel blessed about. How can you let toothpaste set the tone of your day?" Is a tantrum really that big of a deal? So your hair looks bad--who cares? In the throes of Mommy Fail days, I truly think it's okay to recognize that you are having some moments. The real key is how you treat them after the fact. 

Laughing at life's mishaps, learning from your mistakes, apologizing when appropriate, and allowing yourself the space to have moments without dwelling on them for weeks. 

Life, especially parenthood, is not always easy. At least not for me. 

But, at the end of the day, I can always count on the tush hitting the water. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Road trip, version 2

Name that tune. I know my child's language isn't the best--but I am usually spot on with what he is saying. There is a little ditty in the video, my friends, that is beyond my comprehension. 

One road trip to Ohio in the summer wasn't enough...

From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
The truth is, it wasn't terrible.

We just weren't set up for success. Felix had a double ear infection, mysterious rash, and 2 top teeth that were just about piercing through his gums. Oh, and explosive antibiotic poops.
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
Miles was, well, a 2 year old. Of the 5 days of "vacation," 4 would be spent in the car for 4 hours driving. And we stayed in hotels where all of Team Heintz shared a room. It was intimate to say the least.

Highlights? Car naps. 
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
I caved. Big time. I don't like eating and drinking the car, but I pumped one child full of all sorts of forbidden snacks like goldfish and organic juice boxes...and the other one had a steady stream of antibiotics, motrin, and benadryl. And his dairy farm was sitting right next to him. The meat in the Britax carseat sandwich she knows all too well.

And then there was the DVD player we bought last minute. I hate to say it, but it worked a good bit of the time. Granted, we watched a lot of that one Thomas DVD we have and a $1 Sesame Street DVD I purchased at a consignment sale (it was a dollar because it skips and jams every 10 minutes), but I did get to see some Fantasia and March of the Penguins.

Honestly the hardest part was the fact that Miles went bonkers in the hotel room--

He picked up every telephone and dialed hotel staff.
He found the microwave in every room.
He fiddled with the air controls on the floor units.
He opened the fridge and pressed buttons.
He turned on the radio and had his own dance party (the funniest part is he was dancing to a traffic report)
He went bananas at the continental breakfast each day. (Which we encouraged by feeding him waffles with butter).
He destroyed the tissue box that they conveniently put at toddler level.
And when Opat and Grandma were there, he even pressed the HELP button in the elevator and called what sounded like some emergency company for when you get stuck in the elevator.

And he's at that age where he remembers what he is doing is curiously wrong...and tempts fate when he knows you are not looking.

Let's not forget that all the rooms had showers. So what? Well, when you have kids, you notice things like that. Showers means no baths. No baths with one who poops through all his diapers from his medicine, and another one who is Mr Sticky fingers touching every filthy corner of the hotel room (leave it to Miles to find every speck of particulate matter and ask "What's that?"), I was about to scoop them up and have a true family shower. But then there was the chlorinated pool--and grandparents who willingly went swimming with them.

Chlorine kills things like bed bugs and STDs, right? Lord knows what they were exposed to...And I let them eat on the bed.

I caved again. No one likes a child who is having races (READY SET GOOOOO!!!!!) at 7am in the morning. So we had breakfast #1 on the bed. Peanut butter and Jelly, teething biscuits, and cowlicks. You know there are those Dateline specials on "Do you know what diseases lurk in your hotel bedroom?" I'm not a bleach fan, but I sure hope they used it on the sheets. Both before we came and after. Remember how I mentioned Felix had explosive poops? Um, yeah.
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010

Thank goodness for Opat and Grandma who spoiled them with love and attention. Mommy and Daddy got TWO DATE NIGHTS out of it. Rehearsal dinner and the wedding of one of Eric's best friends!
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
Don't think the kids were far from my mind--you'll spot the pumping bag on the floor.
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
No, Eric is not a dapper ice cream salesman. And no, I didn't call the hotel and see how I could match the drapes.
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
Scandalous! But come on--it's the classic Ali and Eric photo.

We had a great time being silly and dancing a LOT. And I debated about having a glass of wine because Eric is still staying dry since his cancer diagnosis, but I had to keep to the theme of the weekend, and I caved. It all started with the complimentary lemon drops as their signature drink at the conclusion of the ceremony...and red wine always goes well with Madonna's "Like a Prayer." 
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010

You know it's a good time when you talk about your tongue's "good side." We took picture of my and Eric's "good sides." I guess you do things like that when you have tongue cancer.
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010
From Cincinnati weekend Sept 2010

The best part of the trip was that we got to see Opat and Grandma again. It was a little bittersweet not being able to see Uncle R, Aunt H (and baby to be FIRST COUSIN!) since they moved out of Cincinnati, but seeing the parents/grandparents was worth all the chaos and trouble.

Just don't expect any traveling out of us any time soon...