Less Potty Talk and More Potty Training

So we sat around the kitchen table today, on New Year’s Day, with bits of shredded cheese and tortilla crumbs under our elbows and discussed last year’s goals and resolutions with our four daughters and toddler son. There were some sighs and knowing looks as the girls realized that sometimes we don’t accomplish everything we set out to do. Timothy toddled about in button down shirt and diaper (“no pants!”) and inserted funny comments while Daddy read everyone’s handwritten Resolutions from last year (we had saved them). Timmy, of course, thought it would be great fun to add the words: “Poopy” and “bottom” to the lists of words he was hearing read aloud.

It was fun to see the things we each valued and hoped for and wanted to accomplish. The girls giggled at Lydia’s silly but serious-to-her goal in 2013 of “not plugging the toilet” any more. We had called the plumber one too many times and she felt the pressure to make a change. No pun intended. Indeed, her goal was accomplished after she learned how much toilet paper was actually appropriate (and it probably helped that we finally installed a more powerful, kid- friendly toilet in the upstairs bathroom). Some of the 2013 goals were wishes and desires. Others were very measurable. We all celebrated together that Hannah HAD, in fact, accomplished a fitness goal of a running a certain number of miles before a certain month of 2013 had passed.

In 2013 we had each child list things by filling in the blanks:
“I want to be______”
“I want to do ______”
“I want to improve on______”
“I want to grow in______”
“I want to stop being ______”
“I want to stop doing _______”

We mimicked the format that our dear friends and Assistant Pastors the Carrizales’ had done with both of their kids.

In various verbiage and maturity levels the girls and Tim and I had filled in these blanks and once or twice we had reviewed them during the year. Hannah had kept her list hung up in her closet to review daily.

But today, reading our New Year’s resolutions a year later, we listened, laughed, celebrated and then tore them up and started a new list. Tore them up? Yes. They were cute (Lydia’s and Priscilla’s) and helpful and fun to revisit. There were areas of victory and there were goals we didn’t quite accomplish, last year. There were some things that humbled us as parents (for instance, one of my goals from last year was to maintain a clean house and here we were sitting in a less- than- spotless kitchen reading about that!)

But we tore those suckers up. Once we all re-read our lists, we wanted a visual way to “forget those things which are behind,” as the Apostle Paul exhorted us to do in Philippians 3:13.

And we started fresh.

With 57 pieces of blank white copy paper. (51 pieces for two year old Timmy who scribbled the letter T in yellow highlighter on each sheet of his stack, while the rest of the six of us pondered our resolutions for 2014 on one sheet in front of us. This year we simplified.

Just two columns. With two words at the top:


We encouraged the girls to list around 5 words under the Less column and 5 under the More column to describe very briefly the areas in which they wanted to see improvement or growth.

For instance, a couple of mine were:
LESS waste
MORE stewardship
LESS worry
MORE preparation

The girls started to snicker and we found that Priscilla had inserted
LESS homework
MORE MineCraft

We let them finish their “creative” thinking project and then helped them contemplate their final categories… Bearing in mind their ages and the sense of humor that we love in our kids’ personalities.

Lydia’s original list had
MORE sliding down the stairs
And MORE doing funny stuff

Her final list included:
LESS fighting
LESS picking my nose

MORE [being] nice
MORE playing toys

Playing toys is a good resolution for a six year old and it beats watching TV or playing MineCraft in my book. 😉

This year we also included two year old Timmy in the Resolutions. I added him to my list. Things I’d like to guide him with and help him accomplish in 2014.

LESS shouting
MORE gentleness
And we literally listed:
LESS potty talk
MORE potty training.

Goals are good. Writing them down is healthy. And doing it as a family keeps you humbled, accountable and I think it’s more humorous. 😉

Happy New Year from my less- than- spotless kitchen. Xoxo,



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