Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pin-spired kid activities

We've done some fun activities this week... Inspired by Pinterest.
(And if auto correct tries to delete or change that word one more time, I might crack this iPhone even more than it already is : )

I thought this shaving cream + food color activity looked like a fun idea. Plus, I had everything I needed already on hand. It was a really really big hit for several reasons.

First, it took place in our enclosed shower, so the mess was easily contained. Meaning I wasn't having to constantly remind/ prevent the colored mess from getting all over the rest of the bathroom surfaces.

The clean up was a breeze. I just ran the shower head water over the 'painted' walls. The mess came off with no effort.

The kids practiced some writing skills. Annette did shapes and letters. Charlie mocks everything his big sis does, and in doing so, he's learning how to hold and use writing utensils with ease.

They loved having a 'no rules' kind of activity. They got to make a mess and get wet and they loved it.

One change for when we do this for the third time: I'll use actual shaving CREAM, instead of the gel kind we had on hand. It worked, but the cream would have been better and fluffier to work with.

Today we did a simple counting activity. Annette has become (pretty) consistently accurate with counting objects up to about 10. (We love the book 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews and the m&m counting book, pictured below.)

So, when I saw this simple idea on Pinterest, I thought I'd see how well Ann could do this activity on her own.

When she saw the permanent marker I used to draw the fish bowls, she begged to use it herself, knowing that permanent markers are off-limits to her. This created a perfect 'hook' (or reward) for her if she completed the fish counting activity. Not that she even needed an incentive:)

Oh, how she loved getting to use that permanent marker for a few minutes. I'll have to remember to use it again as a reward.

After making the little sheet, I explained how she should read the number on the bowl and then glue the matching number of fish onto the bowl.

She was able to do 1-3 without help, and with 4, she had glued 5 fish. So, I showed her how to re-glue them into a straight line, instead of in a jumbled pile, so she could count them easier. Which is An important counting skill. As is starting from the left and counting with your finger as you move to the right. Such simple, yet important skills our kids learn when we 'play' : )

Charlie just ate the fish while we did this activity, but I'm thinking I'll buy the colored goldfish at the store so he can do color sorting while Annette practices her 'set counting' skills.

 She can write Dad and Mom now, without help. But still not her whole name. Our next child may have a 3 letter name for this very reason.

Obviously, there are thousands of little kid books on counting, but here are two of the ones we read over and over again to practice.

I'll do this fish activity again with her later, with numbers 5-10, and see if she remembers to line the fish up as she counts them. And while posting this, I remembered another activity to do with the 10 Black Dot book. I'll give Annette some black paper dots, and see if she can think of some creative ways to arrange them to create a picture, like in the book.

But until then, and while it's still nap time.... I'm going to go 'pinning' some more!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guest Post --Solo Daddy Saturdays Are Back...So is My Perspective

(Isaac, as my guest blogger for the weekend :)

So now it is evident why you need a plunger at your house... It is possible your toilet will back up and you may need to plunge to keep an overflowing toilet at bay.

Morgan had left for her 7-5:30 Saturday teaching job (first one of the year) and I was stuck plungerless, trying to dress both kids, shower and somehow attend a 10:00 soccer game. Luckily, neighboring construction woke Nettie and Chas up around 5:30 and we still had plenty of time after egg-white omeletting (a bourgening Saturday morning tradition). Kraftco was our only remedy for our sans plunger plight. We made it to the Kraft of Co, a very old handyman store and probably the least kid-friendly place in the city. After a long wait in line, we had our plunger. I raced home, was able to pull off the unlcog and was ready to take to the soccer fields. Except, once buckled in seats, Spaghetti Annetti now had to potty. We did our business and were off. About half way there, I realized Annie was shoeless, so we turned back home while Charlie waited patiently the entire time. About this time I was thinking how tough my morning had been. We finally made it to the soccer game and stayed 15 minutes -- morning activity under our belt. Now, off to the regular pilgrimage of Mecca-fil-A.

There we met Collin and Sadie, two special needs children, at the playground. Collin's family of four quickly took to the corner of the restuarant while Collin preceded to help the workers clean off the tables and enthusiastically delivered a huge kiss to this stranger of a dad. I turned to act like I was tending to Charles so I could hide the throatfrog and glistening eye. Meanwhile Sadie, although blind, was able to make it to the to of the slide, where my sweet girl had the heart to yell an encouraging word to Sadie's mom, "She's going the right way!!" Again, the frog, the glisten. Man, did I have it rough, a stopped up toilet, and all these two had to deal with was the inability to communicate, constant strangers staring, being 'different', etc... What an amzing shift in perspective those two youngsters tought me.

Later, after naps, then some Babar and painting, Annette looked at me and said, "You are a good Daddy." I couldn' help but think of those kids unable to say this to their parents and the joy it brings to my heart. What my children are unable to provide is that touching gift.... the gift of realizing and appreciating some of the basics of life. A kiss from your child, a kind word, an "I love you," even a quick hug. To all the parents of those who can't express such things (including my very own), I hope they know the expressions and lessons their children give could be the most important of all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Four night Absence

We got back earlier this week, from a four night trip to Scottsdale, Arizona. Absent to parenting, obligations, and any kind of work.

My ever-giving mother watched the kids three nights, and Isaac's kind momma helped the last couple of days while we were gone. Having family in town, willing and available to help, is one of my hugest blesssings. Thank you, Granny and Nonnie, for allowing us this chance to truly relax.

It was amazing. No surprise there. I mean, how could shopping, sleeping in, and laying out by the pool not be a great thing? Especially with two other fun couples.

Even the way out there was a treat. We had a direct 3 hour flight. So, that's where my vacation started. Truly. As soon as we boarded the plane, I felt free in a way. Trapped on an airplane, but in a good way. I got to SIT for three hours. Can't remember the last time I did that. It was pretty much quiet for 3 hours. I didn't have to take care of anyone for 3 hours. Sounds selfish, but it was a really, really nice break. One that I want to appreciate down to the littlest and last detail.
I got to read the first half of The Soldier's Wife, magazines, and just SIT. Much cherished down time.

Once there, the boys played golf at least 4 times, while we gals shopped or were poolside. Isaac and I spent some QT together each afternoon, which was invaluable. And ended each evening with a nice meal all together.

Another moment I want to hold on to-- when we stayed up late playing charades (my fave) and catch phrase. Y'all know how much I love games. I'm a kid at heart.

The three hubbies graduated high school together and obviously enjoy doing lots of the same things. We wives get along fabulously, as well. In many ways. Including the fact that we can all shop over six straight hours in one enormous mall. I was in heaven. And so was my other half.

We're so fortunate to have couple friends. Several that we have gone on other trips with too, that we would be lost without. It really strengthens our marriage to have such a strong community of couples to share life with. A consistent blessing.

The three of us couples went on a trip to Colorado three years ago. It was such a good time, we had planned to keep it a tradition... As in, going on more trips together. It may have taken a couple years to pick a date, book flights, and get out of town together, but I'm so thankful we were able to make it happen.

It was super hot, as you can imagine, being in the desert in August. So we spent a lot of time in the pool. There was even a water slide that we all went down. We really were pretty kiddish on this trip. Which was a nice role reversal.

Here we are riding four deep in the back of a rental car. How is it that squeezing in a car just adds to the fun to me?

Thanks to the P's, we went to a nice dinner to celebrate Isaac's 30th one evening. Yummy food and a birthday dessert with chocolate drizzled words.

Can't remember what was so funny here. Maybe just the giddy happy feeling I had the whole time.

Now, we are back home with our precious children. It's nice to miss them for a few days, though that may sound weird. I know it's good for us and for them for their momma and daddy to get a break. And it makes me appreciate them even more in a refreshed sort of way.

Typing this as they play at McDonald's playground.

Absence does this they say, but I'm pretty sure my heart is always growing fonder.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The big three-ohhhh!

Isaac is turning 30 tomorrow!!! My husband! The guy I met the month he turned 18.

So glad he is 10 months older than me. It gives me a short chance to rub it in. You know, that I'm still in my twenties.

I could be wrong, but I don't think it will feel any different for him. Or for me...when it's my turn next summer. I think having two kids really close in age made my body and mind turn 30 already. I can't speak for Isaac, but he does just as much (or even more than) I do in regards to family upkeep. So, I bet he feels 30 already too.

But, there are some things that make Isaac seem very young. 'Young at heart' as they say. He has lots of energy for playing with the kids and walking with them even after long days at work. He craves 'fun'. He doesn't like sitting at the house for hours, but would rather get out and go. And another biggie, he has started running EVERY day. I still can't believe it. He had a yucky cholesterol reading a couple months ago, so he stepped up his exercise and eating habits. I'm so impressed with his self discipline and concern for his own health. It helps me do better, too. Which, isn't that one of the amazing things about marriage? We can build off each other. Iron sharpening iron.

And when he does all that sharpening, it feels like he is loving us with his actions. Which is one of my all time favorite Bible verses.

1 John 3:18. "Dear, Children, let us not love with word or tongue, but in actions and in truth."

Every day Isaac works to provide for us, or takes the kids on a walk, or takes me on dates, forgives us for mistakes, serves at church on Sundays, cooks waffles or cooks dinner, or works to keep his heart healthy.... he is loving us. The real kind of love.

I'm so grateful my children know what an amazing father looks and feels like. Real love-- up close and personal. I really think it will help them understand how much our Heavenly Father loves us. I really do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A peek in our week end: QFT


I'm starting my own lingo for Quality Family Time. We got a good dose of the stuff this weekend.

We went to Tazikis on Friday night. It's about the only place that we can pretty easily take the kids, eat quickly and healthy, and it's close to home. We went to Orange Leaf for a treat afterwards.

Aren't I blessed?!?!? : )

My little stinker.

Pretty sure there is a sign somewhere that says these chairs should not be played on because they can cause serious injury. You might be rule-breaker, or a tired-of-saying-no-momma,  if......

On Saturday, we went to Jump Zone.

This is Annette telling me she wants to slide down 3 more times. She loves, loves that place.

Charlie moves like a little ant through the maze of inflatables. He can almost keep up with Annette. Almost:)


"Up. Up. Up!"

My quarters don't stand a chance there.

My little firecracker back at home. Quarterless and toyless. Yet, very happy.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to....

Mother's Day Out,

or 'school' to us.

Annette and Charlie go to Mother's Day Out at Sylvan Hills Church of Christ in North Little Rock. Which is where I grew up and just a 6 or 7 minute drive from where my parent's still live. They started there last year.

I tutor students on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the school next door, so it works out well for me to take my kids here, even if it is a 30 minute drive from our house. The sweet, sweet 'textable' teachers I've known since I was young, the close knit feel of a small program, and the Christian care I know my kids receive, all make it worth the drive. And the fact that I drive to NLR to see my family twice a week anyways, it is perfect for us.

We have missed all that goodness over the summer and we are super excited to get back into a 'school' like routine a couple days a week.

Here they are as we were about to board the car this morning:

Annette was excited to go. Thankfully. Because sometimes she gets in her head that she does not want to do something, and then I have to deal with her stubborness and attitude. But, as I was packing her supplies in her backpack at 8pm last night, she said, "Can we go there, now, Mom????"  Glad she wants to be there. Makes dropping her off  until 2 pm a lot easier!

By the way, I am not good at getting places on time early in the morning. Be there by10? We are golden. But 9? I have to reeeaaaly try. And since I want to get the most out of my MDO time, I try to leave the house by 8:35 am. Which means I am late a lot. Unless I pack lunches and backpacks the night before and lay out the clothes ahead of time.  And even then, Annette may decide she doesn't want to wear something, and it causes stress. Luckily she put on her clothes without one word of oppostition. A wonderful thing! Getting out the door on time in the morning..... It's good practice for us for when my Bible study starts back up. Because we won't be late for that. No way:) And good practice for the real school days that are in our not-so-far-off future.

We made it by 9:05 am. Check. I hadn't left a lunch, paci, sippy cup, or nap mat at home. Check. Kissed my happy kids goodbye. Check.

And I was off.

While my kids sang songs, practiced sharing, read books, played outside, ate lunch, and took naps, I got my syllabus updated for my class that starts up in two weeks and emailed all the students. Got some laundry and dishes done. Ran in and out of Wal-Mart in 15 minutes, which would NEVER happen while carting 2 kids. And exchanged some stuff at Forever 21.  Pro. duc. tive.    Love that feeling.

AND, when I picked the kids up, I got some great reports:

Annette's teacher, Mrs. E, said she pottied and slept and played just perfectly. Music to my ears. Especially since last year we had some issues with pushing others. Glad she has gotten over that stage. Love her.

Charlie is still in and out of that Seperation Anxiety phase, so, I was thankful when he we didn't even whimper when I handed him over to his teacher. When I picked him up, Mrs. A told me that she couldn't believe how much he was talking and how hard he played on the playground. Love him.

 Some more pics of them before we left for the day...

As productive and relaxing as my day was today, I really (honestly) am looking forward to a lazy morning tomorrow. And kid-filled activities for the rest of the day.  It's so so nice to have the best of both worlds.