Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Carefree Christmas

The town of Carefree, Arizona is just north east of Phoenix and about an hour from our house.  It has a very "new old West" feel to it in that it has many wild desert spaces intermingled with a small town setting.  That, and everything in the town is perfectly manicured and "set" for tourists.  It has a population that is very upper middle class and higher, and is filled with beautiful homes done in a modern adobe and southwest style.  The downtown is filled with art spaces, galleries, and craft stores that reflect the old west atmosphere that Carefree tries so hard to portray.  It's a pretty area, and at a slightly higher elevation then the Valley of the Sun it does get colder.  On some rare occasions there is snow topping the saguaro cactus and Joshua trees.  It's in Carefree that we spent this weekend relaxing before Santa arrives two weeks from now.

Two of the Dads that run the Carefree Resort sponsored an outing for our Phoenix Gay Dad's Group Saturday night.  We arrived in the afternoon to a beautiful suite and headed to an absolutely wonderful dinner in the main dining room of the resort.  Our hosts were two new dads of a five month old boy.  After the fantastic food and drinks, we hoped a shuttle to downtown Carefree for the annual Christmas parade and festival.  Due to the cold, Sabrina was attired in her cozy warm "New York" coat and mittens, her ever present blankie, and her blinking Christmas light necklace.  She loved the electric light parade, where every float and marcher was adorned with Christmas lights.  Elaborately decorated fire trucks, ponies, marching bands, and floats drove past us all lit up.  Being guests of the resort, we had front row seats.  Even the Grinch himself, America's toughest do nothing corrupt Sheriff Joe rode down the street in his gigantic monument to wasted taxpayer dollars, his tank, looking like that was the absolute last place he wanted to be.  (Until then I'd never heard booing at a Christmas parade, but...)  Based on the scowl on his face, I imagined the stick up his ass was candy cane striped.  But I digress...

Sabrina started the day at swimming school.  Arriving at the resort, we took a quick hike of the grounds.  The dinner had kids swarming all over and they laughed and played for two hours at least.  So that's why it was possible for her to fall asleep three quarters of the way through fire trucks and marching bands.  She waved at every single one, and as I watched the waving get slower and slower, I knew she'd never make it to the end.  Not to mention the after parade schedule was bouncy houses, playing in 25 tons of imported snow, and fire works with Santa.  Nope, at parade conclusion, we boarded the shuttle back to the resort.  Just as well cause I was freezing my cute little patootie off!

Turns out that was OK, because she awoke in our room just in time for Gregg to hear the fireworks starting.  Out on the balcony, we had the best view ever of the show.  Sabrina loved it, and has been shouting "Boom boom fireworks, boom boom!" all day.  Since she was awake, we went back down to the lobby in time to see some of the other families arriving back at the resort.  After another hour of running and playing with the kids, getting her to sleep after just one reading of The Cat in the Hat wasn't too hard at all.

This morning we got up and had a great breakfast at the hotel, then headed back to town to see what we missed the night before.  This worked out because it was not crowded at all, and we got to play in the snow and visit all the shops after all.  We even climbed a platform and rode snow discs down the steep hill to the bottom.  Of course, most people wouldn't sit a 2 1/2 year old on a round piece of plastic and push them down a hill, but I'm not most people.  Besides she insists on doing everything herself, so...

Santa's head on a platter

The Frosty Float

I think some kids worked hard on this one

Fun, and hygienic soap bubble snowflakes

Father-daughter Olympic tryouts

Flying solo.  She was so proud of herself!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Potty Jar

Potty training is a lot slower than I thought it would be.  Sabrina's been using the potty for a while now, but she's not consistent about it.  If she's involved in any fun activity like coloring, dancing, or watching the Republican debates on TV and nature calls, into the diaper it goes.  And poop, I think she's done that twice on the pot; most of the time she's off in the corner hiding until she's finished and you begin to smell it.  Not unlike a Labrador retriever I can think of.  If only there was some reward, some sought after item I could tantalize her with to make her want to use the potty every time...

Something like this.

Since the above is not currently an option, we opted to create our own.  Off to Target we went, and returned with a plain glass jar.  To invest her in it, we got out the paints and stickers, and in no time at all, The Potty Jar became a reality.

Easily rivals some dusty gold box, and won't melt your face off.

No one's prouder of The Potty Jar than Sabrina, who is fond of telling people "Look, I painta' dis Potty Jar," whenever you enter the bathroom.  We filled the Jar with the toddler world's gold standard of healthy snacks, Swirly Fruit Roll Ups.  If you haven't seen them, picture taking six colors of fluorescent Play-Dough, mixing them, adding a metric ton of sugar, and then rolling it all flat with a rolling pin.  The resultant "Potty Prize" is relished by toddlers and dentists everywhere.  Now all we had to do is promise a Potty Prize after each successful whizzing, and potty training's a snap.  Not so fast...

While Sabrina loves getting a potty prize for going potty she's still not committed, and some unexpected ground rules have appeared in our little game of potty cat and mouse.  For example, if there are more delicious treats to be had elsewhere, who cares about potty prizes or even going potty at all.  So home made Christmas cookies are like potty training kryptonite.  We also quickly realized that Fruit Roll Ups are not what you want to feed a 2 1/2 year old right before bed.  On more than one occasion we've had to scramble to substitute out a less sugary treat.

Like this unsweetened cat food.

There's also the dreaded sit and wait.  As in, gee I'd love a Potty Prize, but I don't have to pee.  Let's see how long they'll let me sit here until I do something.  So we've had 30 minute waits.  In the end it pays off, but sheesh!  I haven't spent that much time in the bathroom since I was a teenager.

All in all we're making some progress.  When it comes to potty training, eventually everything comes out OK.