Daily Lessons

A regular day

Yesterday was January 3 and it was just a regular day. The weather was forecast as partly sunny with a high of 48, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

8:05 am – I stop ignoring the kids and get out of bed. We eat waffles and cereal.

8:20 Oil Pastel coloring and finishing breakfast.

8:45 This actually lasted quite a while. They asked me to draw different things and Mr. 1 actually tried to color inside of things rather than drawing crazy lines all over the place. (New skill!!) Although he did a bit of that, too. He’s also getting really good at pronouncing different things he wants. “Dump Truck” and something that at least resembles “excavator”.

9:30 Mr. 1 decided it was time to go “play” and immediately went to the large floor puzzle box. Mr. 3 agreed this was a good idea and helped/did most of the puzzle.

Mommy got distracted by the wooden Keva blocks and decided to build something. Half-pipe!

10:15 After the puzzle was complete and my structures got destroyed, I decided to do some cleaning up. Mr. 3 announced we were the Pteranodons from Dinosaur Train, his new favorite show.

Mr. 3 asked questions such as “do pteranodons play with magnets? Do they walk on two feet?” and Mr. 1 helped with emptying the dishwasher.

10:45 I finished the dishes, made the bed, and finally remembered to take the doggy out. The kids spent some time playing by themselves.

11:30 The dinosaur train was on its way under the misty sea and I found myself hungry. I said we should have a picnic at the big lake and proceeded to make quesadillas from last nights chicken.

12:00 Ate lunch – dinosaur picnic. Mr. 1 got distracted by the test tubes and spent about 30 minutes putting them in and out of the holder.

12:30 We then decorated some of the window cut outs with price stickers.

1:00 Stories and Nap time!! Mr. 3 played by himself with his magnets and trucks and only woke me up to go poop.

3:00 Mr. 1 slept until a little after 3 and I made tea and snacks.

3:30 Daddy got home and he told us about his day while we colored on the mat. The boys both wanted to do a little bit of dot-to-dot but the game ended when we had to wait for the mat to dry.

4:00 I walked the dog. I don’t know what the others did.

5:00 I made pizza dough while Mr. 3 whined about how he wanted to go to Red Lobster instead. Daddy took a nap.

5:20 We built with Keva blocks. We played a game where we tried to copy each other. Then Mr. 3 wanted to build a train from the blocks but the wheels were too complicated and he was getting frustrated. We hopped back on the dinosaur train for distraction.

Mr. 1 kept bringing train tracks to us so I helped him build a train track.

6:00 I made the pizza while the kids actually watched Dinosaur Train (I can’t believe we made it this long without Kindle/TV!) Daddy woke up.

6:30 Dinner. Mr. 3 was still sad about not going to Red Lobster and he almost didn’t eat. He finally saw reason and devoured the pizza and cherry tomatoes.

7:00 Clean-up. Mommy did more dishes and the boys helped Daddy pick up toys.

7:15 A little bit more TV and getting ready for bed.

7:30 Potty, Brush Teeth, Stories, Bed. We had to negotiate for a while because Mr. 3 decided he was very sad about going to sleep even though he admitted he was tired. (Do you want the light on? Door open? Do you want a truck? Etc)

8:00 Mommy and Daddy time!! We made it! Yahoo!! *snore*

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Books, Daily Lessons, games, Projects

St. Nicholas Day

Happy St. Nicholas Day. I hope you saw my reminder on Instagram to wash your boots yesterday, because St. Nick was supposed to have visited you yesterday.

This is a holiday that stems from my younger years in Germany. My mother has encouraged me to continue the tradition with my own kids. Mr. 3 was very excited yesterday and ended up cleaning his boots, his brother’s boots, the front of my dishwasher, the front of the oven, the trash can and compost bin, and some paint splatter on the cabinets. “What else can I clean, mommy?!”

This morning, the boys were very happy with what they found. A bucket of farm animals, DinoBlock, Trains, and Machines at Work. The two Byron Barton books came at just the right time because their favorite Trucks book broke in half last night while Mr. 1 was reading it in his crib. It’s only been a few hours but I have already read Trains and Machines at Work nearly 12 times total today. They also both really enjoyed the variety of farm animals and accessories.


 

We also did some large scale painting in the kitchen this morning. (Tempera pain is VERY washable and comes off really easily if the toddler swipes a cabinet or floor by mistake. At one point he started painting his diaper.) Mr. 3 was more interested in playing ambulance and trying to tie a ribbon bandage around anything I would offer him. While Mr. 1 and I were sitting in the bath tub scrubbing off the paint, the ambulance driver brought us towels and pretend lemonade. He also cleaned some of the “blood” (paint) from the kitchen floor. He repeatedly told me “Call 911 if you need me!” and “What else can I help with, mommy?”

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My husband is a much smarter person than I am. He is someone who really knows how to use his brain.

We only have short matches and I wanted to light a candle that was getting too low in the jar in order to cover the smell of the stinky diaper pail. My solution was to stick the match in a blob of play dough to make it longer. Feeling super proud of myself (even though I still almost burned myself) I gloated to my husband, “aren’t you going to ask me how I managed to light the candle?”.

He says, “Did you turn it sideways?”

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Daily Lessons

Only Half Way Through

Hello! We are only about half way through the day. I just woke up from my nap but neither the cat or the three year old has found me… I’m hiding under the blanket!

It’s been an interesting day so far! Mr. 3 has only asked for his Kindle once and was distracted before he could find it. In fact, the first thing he went to do this morning was play with the Big Train.

When the track fell apart and the train crashed I announced it was time for breakfast. Mr. 3 asked for a honey sandwich. We’ve never had that for breakfast before but it sounded good to me!

Then I said I wanted to decorate paper Christmas trees and hang them on the window.

Mr. 3 practiced cutting with scissors the whole time. When Mr. 1 started willfully ignoring my directions to not color on the table, please, I decided they were done.They spent more time with the train. Mr. 1 was pretending to be a crane and loaded and unloaded the cargo repeatedly while making crane noises.Every time I turned my back, the train would wreck or derail!

Mr. 1 learned to say “Gondola” and then later he also said “peanut butter” when it was lunch time.Then we vacuumed and I tried to clean the bathroom. In the middle of cleaning the toilet Mr. 3 announces he has to poop. And out of no where comes a sudden independence and he refuses to let me help him wipe. Of course he doesn’t know how to tell me this and instead he runs away from me and sits down on his poopy butt and smears it all over his feet. 30 minutes of wiping later he is finally clean. He went through a lot of toilet paper and some number of baby wipes. (It was frustrating to just watch!!)He also did not want help putting on his clothes. After that fiasco it was nap time for Mr. 1 and me. Thank goodness!Oh! Mr. 3 just caught me, I better go!

Daily Lessons

Busy All Day Long

Hello! It’s been so busy with the holidays, I haven’t found much time for checking in. I hope things are going well with you.

We got out our large battery powered train today. It was gifted to us last year by my husband’s brother, and this is the first time we took it out. Mr. 3 and Mr.1 were fascinated and occupied for what felt like several hours, but was probably less than 2. 

They both enjoyed using the remote control, but needed some reminders on sharing. 

I try not to force sharing too much but I always point out that soandso is feeling frustrated\sad because they would like a turn and eventually the issue resolves… Either with sharing or someone becoming distracted.

We also went to the Museum of Flight.

 We’ve read lots of interesting books lately, a few of which are by Nicola Davies (White Owl Barn Owl, What Happens Next?, Tiny world of microbes). These books are all beautiful and full of the perfect amount of information to be absorbed by a young child. 

The days are just flying by, and this year is almost over!! 

Daily Lessons, Language, Math, Parenting

21 Months and his own little person

As Mr. 1 grows into his own personality, it is becoming more and more obvious how different these children are from each other. The differences always surprise me because until recently, Mr. 1 could have been a visual clone of Mr. 3. He is slowly starting to look different from when his brother was this small.

Mr. 1 is obsessed with colors, and continually makes a game of bringing me a toy and telling me what color it is. And if he doesn’t know the color he just says “ah” and thrusts the toy at me repeatedly until I tell him what it is.

He already knows and says, “Gween” (green), “Wa-hite” (white), “Purplepurplepurple” (purple), “Blooo!” (blue), “Orang” (Orange). He still has a little trouble with Red, Yellow, and Black, but I have no doubt he will learn them soon.

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What I remember most about this stage for Mr. 3 was an intense love of puzzles, and playing with Mega Blocks for hours. On the contrary, Mr. 1 likes (not loves) puzzles, and spends most of his time with construction trucks or cars. Mr. 1 can also catch a ball tossed softly to his chest. (Some of his recent words include “Beach Ball” and “Football”).

Mr. 3 still hasn’t quite got the hang of the catching skill, but boy can he throw.

Mr. 1 has a 70% success rate with jumping, and can dribble a soccer ball about as well as his big brother. I think he just might be an athlete.

At this age both boys love(d) reading, and Mr. 3 still loves reading at 3 so I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Mr. 3 is currently in another puzzle phase, and is also interested in shapes and numbers. At lunch the other day he arranged all of his apple slices around his plate and told me he had made an Octagon. I counted nine slices so I told him that is a nonagon. Then we talked about different polygons and their names for a while. He liked asking our friend Alexa (Amazon Echo) for definitions of the different polygons.

We’ve also been keeping busy with different art projects. We did some chalk coloring on a broken cardboard box. I also bought a large bag of Christmas stickers at Hobby Lobby for $3, and we worked on making some holiday cards.

 

And finally, an update on the mystery guest in my belly:

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At 16 weeks I have felt movement a few times, but nothing consistent. I am excited about this stage of the pregnancy, because it is finally starting to feel like a little person in there.

 

 

Daily Lessons, Math, Projects

The kids are full of surprises!

Apparently Mr. 3 can write his ones and zeros. He also tried to write a two, but it looked just like his zero. He wanted me to draw shapes on the white board with him, “Octagon” is his favorite. And then we drew a “Hexagon”. Then we counted and labeled the sides to see the difference.

Mr. 1 has managed to get his feet off of the ground a few times when he jumps, he’s getting ANOTHER 4 teeth, and can apparently match colors.

We were playing with price stickers the other day, because they are such easy to use and versatile stickers.

For the 3 year old I made some low number activity sheets with the hopes that he would trace a few more numbers so he could practice with that pesky zigzagging two. He’s great at counting low numbers and can even occasionally do some very simple math. The stickering took him no time at all, and then he did trace a few of the numbers. He did the big two several times. Mission accomplished.

I was going to let Mr. 1 put stickers randomly in the circles, but out of my mouth pops, “Can you put the green sticker in the green circle?” I helped him find a green circle and then he knew exactly what to do. Once in a while I tried to gently redirect, “You’re holding a red sticker, can you find a red circle? That’s a yellow circle.” He would get very excited to hunt out the circles, shouting, “DA!” when he found one. (“There!”) He had so much fun he asked for more stickers when the first paper was full, so we ended up doing this twice.

After that I made some rainbow rice using Rachelle’s recipe at Tinkerlab. The boys played with it for 30 minutes before nap time and Mr. 1 came back for an additional 45 minutes after he woke up.

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Mr. 3 is NOT done napping just yet. He still lays down with me 2 to 4 times a week. This has been a recent development, and one that makes me happy.

Confession time…

I was so busy making activities for the kids, that I completely forgot it was Halloween. They forgot, too. We didn’t dress up or go trick or treating. Instead, I went to the grocery store when my husband came home from work and that is when I saw all the kids and remembered, but it was too late.

Shame on me!

I hope you guys had a happy Halloween!

Daily Lessons

New Leaf

I’m feeling much better! I still have frequent headaches and need to nap every day, but I am feeling mostly better!

I’ve been directing my newfound energy and willpower to my kids, and I am noticing their response.

First, I have started offering open art activities again. We are staying simple, because that is what they like best, and also it is easiest to set up. We have done chalk on construction paper, and watercolors with permanent marker pictures. We also made more flags because Mr. 3 has been interested in racing and racing flags. (He asked for this himself, and that made me SO happy!)

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Mr. 3 has reached a new art milestone. A few months ago he was drawing circles that were… circles. Now he draws circles that are “train tracks” or “rocket ships with windows that are train tracks” or “elephant intestines”. He’s telling stories with his art, which is new and exciting. It means he feels he can express his interests, even if it’s just the same circles!

Mr. 1 makes one type of movement (horizontal line to the right) so I think changing up the materials will help keep him interested.

Second, I’ve been getting on the floor to play with them every once in a while. They are fairly independent players but I want to show them that I am interested in their games and I ask questions about what they are doing. I ask questions when I lay on the couch, too, but it feels so distant.

We’ve been reading as much as ever, which I am happy to do. I’ve included some Halloween books to help get the kids excited about the holiday.

Mr. 3 has been asking a lot of questions that make me feel like he is really trying to learn reading and math. He asks “how many train pieces am I holding?” and “what if I put two down?” and when we walk by stores or signs he asks, “what does that sign say”? This has been a recent change in his questions which usually are more “Why [repeat whatever Mommy just said].”

I hope things are going well for you, too!

 

Daily Lessons, Language

I want to be a Contractor when I grow up. What does a Contractor wear?

My 3-year-old is all about putting on a costume to assume a new persona. Although he doesn’t have a costume for his “Snowflake the Horse” personality. Or his “concrete mixer” personality which he has been using most of the last few days. He likes to argue too, “I can’t wash my hands, I have WHEELS.” or “I can’t go in the potty, HORSES pee on the GRASS”.

Well, it’s been interesting at home the last few days because we have a contractor who is tearing down our old deck and building us a beautiful giant new deck. Monday they tore down the existing deck, and both kids just watched the process almost entirely without distraction.

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Yesterday they dug giant holes in the yard where they will be putting the support beams. I wonder if there is a proper name for that? I almost wish the contractor would talk to them every morning and explain to them what he’s doing!

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It is just INCREDIBLE how much dirt comes out of those holes.

Having a contractor do work around your house is expensive, but there is an added benefit that your kids will probably be fascinated by them. Yesterday was the most productive day I had in 3 years. I vacuumed the entire upstairs, cleaned the bathtub, laundry, dishes, scraped the stove (this took a long time since it hadn’t been done in months) and more.

How is it that a day later all those things need doing again?

The contractor is now waiting on inspection so I have to entertain my kids myself today.

Mr. 1 is learning so much lately, and is really trying to become his own independent person. He no longer wants to be picked up and set down in his high chair or car seat. He has to climb and try to buckle himself in. This can take a lot of time and frustration. But he’s also trying to jump and get his feet off the floor, and he’s saying more words out loud. Today’s new word was “Throw” which he saw in his favorite book, My World, My Words.

Honestly, though, it is hard to say what their favorite books are because they read SO much. Take a look at the right column in my home school journal. Those are the books we read over those few days and probably doesn’t even include the books my husband reads to them during “Mommy time”.

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My own personal favorite kids book right now is the Gobble Gobble Mooooo Tractor Book. It has such cute pictures and is a lot of fun to read. It is about some farm animals that are pretending to drive the tractor and make their interpretations of all the necessary noises.

 

Daily Lessons, Parenting

Being Helpful

My kids love being helpful. I know it can be frustrating when they start sweeping the ceiling, or that vacuuming takes 8 times as long. And yet, it is in our best interest to let them help! They are learning important lessons such as helping and caring for others, taking care of themselves and their belongings, teamwork, problem solving, fine and gross motor coordination, and SO much more.  Continue reading “Being Helpful”

Daily Lessons, play, Projects

Warning: Severe Heat in the Seattle area!

It’s 90 degrees in Seattle. Yowza! How are we keeping cool? We aren’t. One thing that surprised us when we moved here from Texas was the general lack of centralized A/C.

We have a little unit A/C but the kids won’t leave the door closed, so it’s no good to anyone.

Actually, it does a great job of blowing bubbles. Still, if you are paying $200 for a bubble blower… you are crazy and probably insolvent. 

Forgive me, the heat makes me cranky. 

What we are doing is taking it easy and keeping busy. We’ve got some collaging with contact paper, playdoh, painting on the patio, sticking pipe cleaners into things that have holes, and drinking lots of water.


Also, playing with ice until the freezer runs out. I took an idea from my recent follower Heather (thanks!) and froze some of their water resistant toys in a big bowl of water. Mr. 3 poured salt all over it and we played with together for a little while, at least 30 minutes.  

The salt was as old as he is, so I’m not too heart broken about him using the whole bottle. 

How are you keeping cool? 

By the way, I’m super excited to announce… that Mr. 3 has started “reading” to Mr. 1 and finds many opportunities to explain things to him. 

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm”

“No, that’s not a truck, that’s a tractor” 

I love it. I love it. I love it.