Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

Long Break With Large Changes

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My goodness, what a loooooooooong break from blogging I’ve taken. My Aunt Starr was in town a few weeks ago for my dad’s 60th Birthday Bash, and she told me how much she missed my blog, and my friend from church tells me the same thing every Sunday. So, I’m back!!!!! I promise you that I have not been spending my days and nights twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do. My family and I have been busy, busy, busy! From baseball in the winter and spring to home renovations and football practice all summer, we have been at full speed since my last post. In this post, I will play catch-up and give you a small glimpse at what our life has consisted of over the past 10 months.

ChristmasChristmas was wonderful last year! Adam was extremely busy with work. Banks passed all of his semester exams and ended the semester with all A’s in all subjects. Weston was finally able to appreciate all of the lights, the tree, and was bursting at the seams to open everyone’s presents! We switched things up a bit, as a family, and we decided to give Banks a list that gave him 3 blanks to fill in with the item of his choice. It read, ” I want ________, I need _________, and I would like to have ____.” We did the same thing for Weston, but because he couldn’t read or write, we made the decision for him. This worked out beautifully, because by the time my kids received gifts from family, friends, and Santa, there were so many items, they would forget what they had been given. Adam and I came to the conclusion that if 3 gifts were good enough for Jesus, the same amount was good enough for our children.

After such a wonderful Christmas, the new year met us with some opposition. On January 9, Adam went into work as usual, and he worked all day, as usual. At 5pm, the owner’s son called Adam into his office and told him that they had decided to do away with his position as well as some other positions within the company in order to make the company more profitable. We were stunned, to say the least! Adam spent 80 or more hours each week at work, and he had been an intricate part of them having their most profitable year to date. At any rate, this didn’t take God by surprise, and we firmly believe that He allowed it. Twenty-one days following his dismissal, he began a new job with an amazing company! He is now the Food and Beverage Director for the Courtyard Marriot here in Dothan. Adam has completely revived the food and beverage department at this hotel. He is thriving, and we love how much family time he has, and as I mentioned, the company he works for as well as his co-workers are an amazing team. His achievements were actually published in the Marriott newsletter last month, as a very important guest sang his praises. I’m so proud of him, and he’s always been destined for greatness. I love him so much!

National Honor SocietyWinter wasn’t always so gloomy! Banks was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. He was one of only eleven of his  classmates awarded this honor. The eleven students had achieved and maintained a GPA of 3.75 or higher, and they must continue to maintain this GPA for eligibility. He was truly beginning to mature, and we were noticing how much responsibility he was beginning to take on juggling academics, sports, and a social life. His future is certainly BRIGHT!

baseball 1baseball 2With winter coming to an end, Banks was heavily involved being a 7th grade starter for his Junior High Baseball team for his school, and Weston was his little shadow, knowing and believing that he had the capability to be just as great as his older brother, who he holds in the highest esteem.

easterThankfully, spring was in the air, school was winding down, and summer time (my favorite time) was rapidly approaching. We celebrated our risen Savior, and the picture above is of my handsome fellas on Easter morning before church. Banks has truly grown into the most handsome red-headed teenager. You all know how it goes with red-heads, they’re either really ugly or really attractive. There is no in-between, and I’m so thankful that God saw fit to make him really attractive! Weston is absolutely adorable in his hand-smocked Jon-Jon and knee socks. I smocked his Easter outfit, and I’m so thankful for the timeless art of smocking my mommy taught me. Both boys have such different personalities, but love each other so much, and I pray that their friendship will only grow as they get older.

chrissySpring also brought a new addition to our family, our adopted rescue Beagle/Hound mix, Chrissy! Awwwwww she’s just wonderful!!!! She’s the little girl that I’ve always wanted! I put bows in her hair, take her on walks, brush her hair, and she gives me someone to talk to during the day. How in the world did we ever make it this long without her??? Banks has asked for a dog for years, and we always told him that once we got a new fence, we would get him a dog. Well, we got a new fence, and we had to make good on our promise to our son. We went to our local Humane Society, and walked a few dogs, but lying in a corner was the most docile and beautiful Beagle. Banks took her for a walk and decided immediately that she was the one! She was owner surrendered, house trained, and so incredibly lovable. She is the perfect dog!

summer footballswimming 1swimming 2Finally, school was over, and summer was here!!!! Banks finished the school year with all A’s in all subjects, and with a few tough losses during the baseball season, he and his friends were excited to move on to summer football workouts in hopes of a great football season in the fall. He had practice 4 mornings/week with two-a-days beginning in August. He celebrated his 13th birthday at the end of July, and overall he has really matured a lot over the spring and summer. It’s really great seeing him become such an amazing young man. Weston spent his summer continuing to adamantly resist the idea of potty training but insisting on wearing big boy underwear on top of every diaper. Adam and I spent the majority of our summer on home renovations and finding out just how strong our love for one another is, which I will give you an in-depth look at during next week’s post. We ripped up 1700 sq ft. of carpet and linoleum (4 layers in the kitchen), and we laid wood-grain porcelain tiles throughout our home, with the exception of Banks’ room, where we stained the concrete subfloor. Our love and my character was attacked this summer by another family member, but throughout the trial, we stood arm-in-arm and supported one another and only grew further in love with one another when it was all over. I suffered some major medical issues at the end of July with a 6cm cyst on my right ovary, but despite the hustle and bustle of our summer, we still found time to spend as a family, which were the best parts of our summer. We swam and grilled out nearly every weekend of July and August. It was overall an exhausting summer, both emotionally and physically for all of us, but the good times definitely outweighed the tough times, and as always, we are as strong as ever. We concluded our summer by celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday, and it was an absolute blast! Sadly, summer was bound to come to an end, but with the start of a new school year came some great surprises!

schoolfootballfootball 2The school year began with Banks entering the 8th grade. He is taking Earth Science, English, World History, Honors Algebra I, Latin I, Fitness and Agility, and he has a Study Hall. His grades are amazing, as always, and he is playing Junior Varsity football again this fall, which he loves. He is number 1, which is quite fitting, in my opinion. He may not be the biggest or the strongest on his team, but he certainly has the most heart, and he always gives 100%. It is amazing at how mature and responsible he has become. 7th grade was so weird, and at times, it was as if he had lost his mind, but finally, it’s like he’s back in the land of the living, and he’s thriving!

potty trainingbriberyWith the start of a new school year, Weston and I could get back into a daily routine that worked for us. As he was napping one day, I was reading an article on Mayo Clinic’s website explaining how to potty train a stubborn child. Weston marked off every question of readiness. He would wet or soil his diaper and take it off of himself and bring it to me for months, but he would have a complete meltdown when it came to Adam or myself trying to teach him to go to the potty. In actuality, he knew all along how the process worked, he just continued to resist because he was in control. Well, his control was about to come to an end. After reading the article, I told him that the next day there would be no more diapers, and he would need to go to the potty. He thought I was kidding, but he was wrong. I threw away the last 5 diapers he had at home, and that morning, I put big boy underwear on him. I sat him on the potty every hour on the hour. He screamed and cried, Banks and Adam were pulling their hair out from exhaustion, and I sat on the bathroom floor with him singing songs, reading books, holding his hand trying to get him to go to the potty. The first two days resulted in 12 pairs of wet underwear, but I made him take each pair off, wipe up the floor, and take his soiled underwear to the washing machine, and I would ask him, “Weston, where does poo poo and tee tee go?” He would respond, “In the potty, mommy.” He was still in control at this point, but he would soon relinquish control. We had told him that when he went to the potty, we would take him to the toy store and buy him a prize. Well, on the third day, at 6:30pm, he FINALLY went tee tee in the potty!!!!! Banks was finishing his shower after football practice, so when he got out, we loaded back up in the van and went to the toy store. Weston chose a gumball machine as his prize, and now he gets a gumball every time he goes to the potty. Parents of toddlers, don’t buy books and movies on potty training. Good, old-fashioned bribery is the key! Definitely wait until the child is ready, but having a prize at the finish line is sure  to work. He has only had 2 accidents since that evening, and that was just 10 days ago! He now tells us when he needs to go to the bathroom, and he hasn’t wet his bed at all throughout this entire process, which isn’t unusual for him, because he had been waking up with a dry diaper for at least a year prior to potty training. We are so incredibly proud of Weston, and he is certainly proud of himself! Adam and I are also thankful that we no longer have to purchase diapers anymore!!!! We got a raise!!!!! With his third birthday approaching, Weston has his sights set on a bicycle that he pedals all over the toy store every time we are there. We are looking forward to the fall and winter holidays now that he knows exactly what is going on and does not hesitate to voice his opinion on everything. It should be a very exciting time for us all!

I hope that you have enjoyed catching up with my family and me. I pray that I never find myself so busy that I choose not to find the time to write. It is such an outlet for me as well as a gift. I pray that this fall weather finds all of my readers well, and stay tuned next week as I show you the dramatic renovations that we have taken on with a new fence, tree removal, new flooring, and new kitchen and bathroom countertops and backsplashes. It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

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Author: jstarrnichols

I'm a stay at home mom that daily strives to be a Proverbs 31 woman to my husband and children.

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