art, Conversations, Daily Lessons, Language, Parenting

Art and Playdate: Everyday Learning

Mr. Almost 4 has been drawing “house plans” inspired by the show Bob the Builder that he found on his kindle a few weeks ago. This mostly consisted of drawing lots of circle windows near each other for the last two weeks. Today he drew a large circle and added two little circles inside of it and I said, “it looks a little like a face!” He agreed but pointed out that the face was missing a nose and mouth. To my surprise, he decided to add them in.

He has now officially drawn his first face! The large green one was Daddy, the bottom right green was his brother and then the top right green became the baby. The yellow picture was of the dog. My guidance consisted of saying that our dog has a really large nose and two large ears.

I’m no expert, but I feel like this is a pretty important milestone in his artistic development. This is the first time he’s actually drawn something that is recognizable, and I am super proud of him.

Another proud parenting moment:

We went to the playground this evening at Daddy’s suggestion and Mr. 2 said, “This purple slide. Watch me go down.” He spoke so carefully and perfectly I almost cried. And after dinner he tried so very hard to say “May I be excused?” when we asked him if he was all done.

This morning we had a play date with a neighborhood friend. They have 3 girls, one of which is in the process of being adopted into the family. When we had our snack this afternoon I had to answer many questions such as the following:

  • Why don’t they have any boys?
  • Will they make boys?
  • Why did they adopt the baby?
  • Why couldn’t the baby’s mommy or daddy take care of her?
  • Why did the mommy do drugs?
  • Why weren’t they being careful and accidentally have a baby?
  • Why do Crystal and King not have any children? They are lonely. (Dinosaur Train characters.)

I actually had a very long attempt at explaining that people who don’t have children aren’t necessarily lonely, but he took a lot of convincing. Apparently he thinks children are an important and necessary part of life… I wonder why? (:

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About, Daily Lessons, Language, Science

9 Weeks

9 more weeks of…

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Being generally uncomfortable. Back pain, foot pain, head pain, groin pain… you name it and I’ve got it. It feels as if the baby has taken up residence where my diaphragm is supposed to be, just inside the bottom of my rib cage. I get poked there constantly, and I am out of breath doing simple things like reading out loud or singing to the kids.

 

 

9 more weeks of…

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spending my time and energy with only 2 beautiful and brilliant boys. I’m afraid of how much I will miss when my attention is torn in a third direction. I already feel like there is not always enough of me to go around, and that amazing moments and discoveries are passing me by.

 

 

These kids are amazing. They are challenging but they are rewarding. There are moments that I wonder why I wanted three, even two, of these crazy people, and there are moments when I think I want 10 of them.

Mr. (Almost) 4

We had some trouble with poop this last week. He’s been pretty much accident free since Thanksgiving, even to the point of waking up in the night and going to the bathroom by himself. This last week, however, he has pooped in his underwear several time and generally refuses to go potty until the very last minute. My husband and I are resorting to taking away whatever toy he is playing with and not letting him have it until he “listens to his body” and at least tries to go the toilet.

He recently discovered Bob the Builder and that is now is favorite morning time show. He still watches Dinosaur Train at night, even though he won’t watch the paleontologist anymore because he’s afraid of him and that other weird guy that shows up randomly.

He has initiated several conversations about evergreen trees, deciduous trees, and photosynthesis. This winter feels like it is dragging on forever and he’s wondering if some of the trees are dead. It’s great that he’s noticing what’s going on around him a bit.

Mr. (Almost) 2

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Next week he will be 2 years old! He’s both helpful and destructive. Nothing in a basket is safe from dumping, and he could jump jump jump around all day. He says “yes” more than he says “no”. He takes chunky or peg puzzles to bed with him. He loves to read and drive the cars around. He has only one volume that I will call ANNOUNCEMENT and is just short of yelling.

He just started stringing words together to form complete ideas, and is experimenting with different words he knows.

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“Play outside!!!” (It’s still cold and wet, but we’ve had a few moments to play outside. Although Mr. a-4 has a little cold since he was outside Wednesday.)

“Play Pinecone!!!” (He likes throwing pinecones into the stream.)

“Hold hands!!!”

“Let me out” (playing on the trampoline)

“Reading book” / “Read again” (We love to read!)

 

Time is passing by. Some moments it’s flying by so fast I can hardly keep track, and some moments it drags along and I fear I will never have this baby. We just need to be patient a little longer.

Language, Parenting

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

I recently discovered that two of my homeschooling neighbors have actually changed their minds are planning or already have enrolled at least one of their kids in public school. The kids seem excited and happy, and really that is all that matters. If my children WANT to go to public school I will not hold them back.

Both of these families have had drastic changes to their family lifestyle that would 100% make you evaluate your families educational need. One was an adoption of a third child, and the other was the death of a significant caregiver and provider. Under the later circumstances I would 100% put my kids in school because I don’t know how else I could provide for them. I don’t think my mother would want to home school my 3 children for me. (And I hope I never find myself in that position.)

As of right now, I do still plan on homeschooling with 3 children. But as always, this should be a family decision that includes the needs and wants of the children. Last I discussed it with my 3-year-old, he was very happy to stay home with me and that was his preferred choice. My husband and I both agree that homeschooling is the best thing for our children and our family. (Especially after that awful and sad thing that happened in Florida the last few days. School shootings are horrific.)

Continue reading “To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool”

Gardening, Language

Spelling Match Game

Hello friends!

Mr. 3 wanted to go to the Science Center today, but it is cold and rainy and I just did not feel like going anywhere. Usually it is him that doesn’t want to go anywhere, but today it’s my fault that we are stuck at home. I think all the cold and rain is getting to me. It doesn’t help that I can’t zip my rain jacket around my big belly anymore, or that it hurts to put on shoes either from bending or lifting my legs.

3 mores months to go! Then we will be more comfortable and have some sunshine… and a baby!

I thought I would try a new game with the boys. My friend whose middle child is in kindergarten this year was trying to explain the concept of “sight words” and how its difficult for some of the kids in the class. I think, basically, the kids are exposed to common words “has” and “is” several times, and they memorize the form the words go in.

Personally, I don’t think that helps them read a whole lot since it is just memorizing. But I thought I’d do something similar to help the kids understand a more basic concept: that letters form words. I wanted to do words that we see a lot, and that the kids are excited about.

When I asked Mr. 3 what to spell, he said “cryolophosaurus” and “time tunnel approaching”.

Mr. 1 asked for me to repeatedly draw pictures of a cow.

We never got to the game part of it, but I also cut index cards in half and wrote 1 letter on each card. On the back I included a little dot-to-dot if the kids wanted to trace the letters. (They did do this a few times.) Then I made some other cards or papers with pictures and words on them.

The game would basically be finding the correct letters to copy the word written on the picture, or I could give them the correct letters and they are supposed to put them in order. I know there are some Melissa & Doug puzzles that are similar to this idea.


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We’ve got some seedlings that have popped up. It has been about 8 days since we planted them. Mr. 3’s carton has 4 sprouts, and mine has 3 sprouts. Mr. 1 has 0 and I am starting to worry I forgot to put seeds in his. He also has the most soil, so it could just take longer to pop up. Mine was a few days behind Mr. 3 because I have more soil than him. My sprouts also appear a little stronger than his.

It’s fun to look at everyday and see what has changed.

 

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, 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.

 

Language, Projects

Sing along art

Another simple craft brought to you by me.


We used chalk and construction paper because I like the way it feels and because it’s different from the crayons and markers they use more frequently. You may use whatever medium you have at hand.


Basically, with the child sitting on your lap, you sing a nursery rhyme or favorite song. While you are singing you and your child can draw about what’s in the song. 

I sang Old McDonald Had A Farm for both kids and let them choose which animals or things were on the farm. 

My 3 year old wanted a mommy and daddy and baby cows and pigs. 

I also drew La La Lemon by the barenakedladies. The band name sounds inappropriate but this song is totally fine and absolutely hilarious. La la la was one of the first noises Mr. 1 would make consistently so we sing this a lot.


I’m clearly not the best artist, but the process of doing this together was a fun connection building activity. The young kids got to participate in the art even if they didn’t want to draw.


Some other songs that are great for this would be:

  • Green grass grows all around (there was tree… and on that tree there was a limb,branch,nest,egg,bird,etc)
  • Mary had a little lamb
  • Farmer in the dell

Basically anything that gives you time to draw simple objects that your children are familiar with.

This activity brings their favorite songs to life.

What song would you draw?

Daily Lessons, Language, Parenting

The rest of the day

I know that last post was a little hard to read, but writing it out definitely helped me get some perspective and help cement my realization that I just need to be more patient. 

Also, the bad times help us appreciate the good times more, don’t they?

After they woke up from their nap, we ended up having a wonderful afternoon. We did a lot of playing outside. They picked wildflowers (weeds) and rocks in a field near the house, and dug a large hole in our backyard. 


It was really awesome watching them work together on the hole, and getting along for at least 20 minutes. Every once in a while Mr. 3 would say, “Excuse me M—-, I am trying to dig here!” 


I told him he has to speak clearly and slowly to his brother and so now he emphasizes each word, and it’s so funny to hear him talk like that.

Little brother kept trying to climb into the hole.

We also discovered that while raw green beans have a tough shell that is kind of gross to chew, the little pods inside the shell are juicy and delicious. We spent quite some time shelling and eating the green beans in the garden. We compared flavors of the different sized pods.


When we got back inside they took a bath together and then immediately wanted to play in the sand box. 

The 15 month old has made some great vocabulary strides in the last few days. He can say “WOW” when we read Wow, Says the Owl. He can also say “baby” out loud, but I think he was really trying to say Brother, which he also just started signing. 

It’s adorable when he signs brother and walks through out the house (or toy store) looking for his big brother. 

He handed me a bib and said “b b b bib!” 

He is trying to jump and just kind of bounces up and down on his toes.

Big brother on the other hand is working on standing on one foot now. And he does great impersonations of his favorite Blippi shows. And he didn’t ask for the Kindle once yesterday, I think he has accepted my computers are for responsible people speech? 

And guess what? When he pooped in his diaper in the evening, I calmly asked him if he wanted to go potty, and when he indicated “no”, I told him to let me know when he was done and we could get him cleaned up. 

See, I CAN do this wonderful job of taking care of and helping my children explore the world. 

Language, Projects

Project: Large Dot to Dot

This project is super easy, all you need is paper and a writing utensil. I chose some packing paper left over from when we moved last year, and some colorful markers.

Sometimes it is refreshing just to change a few things up from the way you normally do things. That is why I wanted to use large paper and have them color/draw on the kitchen floor.

My goal with this was to emphasize words with the letter F because that is what my toddler wanted to learn about this week.

As per usual, my toddler did not use the project in its intended fashion (to complete the dot to dots to draw the F themed pictures and write the letter over and over), but he did have fun with it. He added a “mommy”  (blue scribbles in middle picture) and then a “Morgan” the dog (not shown). He really liked the airplane and guessed the associated word was “fly”, but instead of tracing it he just circled it vigorously.

He did trace the big Letter F’s with his finger. I asked him if he wanted to use the markers and he said no. I asked him if he was afraid of messing up, and he said yes. I told him it’s okay to mess it up. I told him I can make more F’s but he hasn’t worked up the courage.

I moved the project to our dining table in case he wants to come back to it later.

Let me know how the project worked for you, if you end up trying it!

Daily Lessons, Language

Baby Sign Language

Last night at dinner, Mr. 1 wanted a third helping of rice. My husband says to him, “Can you say please?”. Mr. 1 responds by emphatically rubbing his hand on his chest, the sign for “please”.

I almost cried for joy because I did not know he knew that word; he has never used it for me.

What  I do know is that I would recommend baby sign language to any family. My 3 year old still uses it daily, and I enjoy learning the words, too. Some of them are really awesome. My favorite words are helicopter, rocket ship, and dinosaur.

Continue reading “Baby Sign Language”