Adventures, Science

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Last weekend we drove 45 minutes south of Seattle to go visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. 

This was our first time visiting the zoo, and although we had a rough start to the day we had a beautiful time at the zoo and got to visit a restaurant chain we like but that was closed down near our house. It was a really good day.

The worst part was when we realized we forgot Mr. (a)4’s jacket after 10 minutes of driving and had to turn around and drive back home to get it. The best part was:

The scenic view of the Sound, the amazing animals, the engaging children’s area, the beautiful weather, and the POLAR BEAR!!!!!

Honestly, we only saw about 1/3 of the park. We didn’t even make it to any of the aquariums and I had to hurry through the Asian forest (tigers, elephants, etc!) but I would highly recommend this park to any family. We are already planning to go back after the baby is born, because my mom would love it.

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art, Daily Lessons, Math, Science

Counting Rings | Bird is the Word

46 days have never seemed so long! It is 46 days, or 6 and half weeks, until our due date on May 3. (Although my husband is apparently hoping for a May 4th C-Section… I think it’s Star Wars related.)

Today we made a paper chain to help us count down the days. Everybody helped a little. Even my husband got in on the action. The 2-year-old helped by demanding I draw things on the paper, and he also colored some of it himself. The (almost) 4-year-old helped by putting tape on the rings.

I chose blue and pink because we do not know the gender of the baby and I thought it would be a happy coincidence if the color matched the gender on the day of the birth. I also numbered each ring to make it easy to keep track of and so the boys can practice their number recognition. When it was done the almost 4-year-old counted to 46 with only a few mistakes (“eleventeen” instead of seventeen, etc).

What else is new?

Mr. 4 has been asking me everyday to do math. He just asks me questions like “What does 20 and 20 make?” “What does 40 and 40 make?”.

We are also learning a bit about birds. Thank you to Grandma for sending us that bird feeder and motivating us to learn more about the nature right outside our house. With the addition of some figurines and a book, we’ve been able to identify a few different birds. We’ve only seen robins and black-capped chickadee near the feeder, but the figurines have taught us to identify Orioles, Cardinals, Blue Jay’s, Blue Bunting and Yellow Warbler as well. I’m pretty proud that he and I are able to name these birds and I open the book everyday to point something out to the boys and reinforce the learning. It has been fun!

Mr. 2 has been building up quite the vocabulary, and has even been making up his own songs. He sang “The Firetruck goes round and round” at the aquarium today. He’s also naming lots of body parts, although he has a tendency to confuse my breast with my baby belly. In the car the boys always point out the red and green lights and tell me when to stop and go.

It has been an educational and busy week.

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.

Science

Clouds

I’m learning so much from my kids’ obsession with Dinosaur Train. They’ve been re-watching the 3 seasons that are available on prime. In Season 7 there is an episode that focuses on the different kind of clouds.

I have read a few different books that talk about the different kinds of clouds, but with names like “altostratus” and “nimbostratus” and “cumulonimbus” it makes it hard to figure out what is what.

Dinosaur Train kept it simple and now I finally think I have an understanding of basic clouds: cumulus, stratus, and cirrus

Cumulus – Fluffy ——–Stratus – Large Sheets ———Cirrus – Streaky

Everything else is just a sub category of those.

More importantly, all clouds are made of water droplets.

Personally, I have always wondered what a cloud feels like. I recently learned that fog is a cloud that forms close the ground. If you’ve touched fog, you’ve touched a cloud!

My kids and I can now look at the sky and have a somewhat educated guess about what we see!

 

 

Conversations, Gardening, Parenting, Science

Baby/Homeschool/Gardening update

Some baby news:

A funhouse mirror is a great way to show how I am feeling after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

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Short and fat, that sums it up pretty well! Thank you convex mirrors for accurately portraying my discomfort. Mr. 3 enjoyed dancing in front of these mirrors at the Pacific Science Center last weekend.

Did you know… that parents lose 450-700 hours of sleep the first year after a baby is born? 

Continue reading “Baby/Homeschool/Gardening update”

Adventures, Daily Lessons, Gardening, History, Science

3 months to go!

Did you know… that today’s birds are actually theropod dinosaurs? (According to Dr. Scott the Paleontologist on Dinosaur Train.) 

With this impending baby, time seems to be moving simultaneously at warp speed and super slow. We have 3 months until we meet the little one, which seems forever away and yet each day flies by so fast I can hardly keep up.

My car battery has been giving me a bit of trouble. It doesn’t seem to hold its charge if I don’t use it.

Continue reading “3 months to go!”

Adventures, History, Science

Museum Free Thursday

(I wrote this at 2 pm but failed to submit it.)

Hello! I am hiding under the blankets again. I got rid of the cat by pretending to sleep.

It’s rather late for our daily nap, but Mr.1 was playing so nicely with the magnet tiles and I didn’t want to tear him away. Honestly, if you are scratching your head about Christmas presents and you don’t already own a set of these, I think you should make the investment. They get used EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

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Except maybe yesterday, but it was a wonderful and strange day.

The first Thursday of every month is Museum Free Thursday in Seattle, where a number of museums let you in for free.

Yesterday we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History which is located on the UW campus. Parking was awful and expensive ($9 for 3 hours) but the Museum was awesome.

It’s a rather small museum; you could run a lap around the top floor in about 35 seconds. I know this because Mr. 1 was all about running away from me.

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Mr. 3 wanted to stay in their “class room” area and do floor puzzles.

The lower level is dedicated to cultural artifacts and the top level is dedicated to dinosaurs and also a volcano.

In fact, they were in the process of cleaning a T-Rex skull that was found recently. You could watch them do it! According to the museum there have only been about 15 complete skulls found for the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

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We had so much fun that Mr. 1 fell asleep in the car and Mr. 3 fell asleep in his barn. (At that point he was Snowflake the horse.)

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The rest of the day seemed like it was spent playing “fire truck rescue” and “ambulance driver”.

The strange part was at dinner. Instead of eating, Mr. 3 insisted on taking a bubble bath. This was his first bath since that time I told you I got in the tub with them… a month ago?

Mr. 1 ate a little bit and then joined his brother. We had to drain the tub once due to the little one pooping in the tub. Yuck!

Science

Introducing Science to Mr. 1 & 3

I hardly use facebook, except to ask questions of the homeschool group. I asked them the other day what they use to explore science with their little people. I received a lot of recommendations but I was specifically looking for books. These are my thoughts on the recommendations I received.

101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments by Miller, Homer, and Harrington

This book is tied for first place in my mind. It has everything I want! It has scientific explanations, exciting experiments, and beautiful pictures to guide the way.

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The Everything Kids EASY Science Experiments Book – by Mills

This was not actually recommended but I found it while I was looking for the others at the library. I am so glad I found it because I love the way it is organized to answer your little kids questions about the world and themselves. It is split into 5 sections: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Body, Planet Earth. It is also written like a workbook, that the children can make their notes in and also includes a few puzzles and games like an activity book.

It doesn’t have the colorful pictures of the first book, but it does have more detailed explanations.

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The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book – Robinson

This one had multiple endorsements from the mama’s in the group, but it feels more suited to slightly older children. It is split into the same 5 categories as the EASY book and written in the same workbook/activity book manner. Instead of lots of colorful pictures there are excellent scientific explanations. This looks like a great book and I will probably buy it as soon as we master the “EASY” experiments first.

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Curious Kids Science Book by Citra

This one has interesting experiments and seem to answer a lot of detailed questions: Do seeds grow best when its warm or cold, how deep do seeds need to be planted to grow best, how much water, how much light, can a plant go through a maze to reach the light, etc.

The book also has beautiful pictures of all of the experiments.

The biggest drawback for me is the lack of scientific explanations. I don’t trust myself to be able to explain these things to my kids, and I want a back up resource.

What do you use to expand your curious kids knowledge about science? 

 

 

Science

Pileated Woodpecker

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We saw this little guy climbing on the electric pole right in front of our house. We identified him as a woodpecker and confirmed he was a Pileated Woodpecker using our Animal Encyclopedia.

We learned that woodpeckers eat insects, fruit, and nuts. They even peck for insects in dead wood, as we got to witness first hand.

We watched the red head bounce up and down the pole. The kids seemed especially fascinated with how well he climbed.

The reason they can climb so well is their zygodactyl feet. With four toes, the first and fourth point backward and the second and third point forward. The grip is strong enough to allow them to vertically walk up tree trunks.

I didn’t learn until later that a woodchuck is actually a groundhog, but I went ahead and teased the boys with the following tongue twister. They thought it was funny, but didn’t attempt to say it.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck all the wood that a woodchuck could chuck if he could chuck wood. 

Now I want to go to the library and check out Peck, Peck, Peck which is an adorable and funny story about a baby woodpecker learning to peck.

Health, Parenting, play, Science

Hard Hat Harry

“Mommy, please, please, please, please, can I watch more Hard Hat Harry?” says my 3-year-old in a pleading whisper.

We have a new obsession in our house here, and it is known as Hard Hat Harry. I have been a little more lax with the television time while I am suffering from the First Trimester Troubles but I still had to tell him “no” as gently as I could. We discussed it back and forth and he finally acquiesced and laid down for a nap when I said “Studies have shown that children learn more from interactive play than they do from television.” I don’t know 100% if that’s the truth but I believed it when I said it.

Television shows like Hard Hat Harry make me question such a statement, because I feel like I learn something new every time I watch them. I don’t believe I learn something new every time I play with magnet tiles. Although, I imagine the standards of learning are slightly different for an adult and a 3-year-old child still exploring the world.

Some things I have learned from our new favorite show:

  1. Airplanes are SUCKED into the sky! The way the air flows over the wings creates a suction effect that lifts the airplanes into the sky.
  2. There is a kind of truck that carries its own bridge on its back. It lays out the bridge, drives over, and picks it up again!
  3. An Orange tree grows an average of 1,500 oranges in one growing season!
  4. Nuts are harvested by a machine called a Tree Shaker. It literally shakes the tree so all the ripe nuts fall off and then sucks them up like a vacuum.

Hard Hat Harry was filmed in the mid 90’s, so the picture quality might not be what you are used to, but he is a genie that takes a detailed look at many of the topics our kids are fascinated with.

Yesterday when Mr. 3 was asking to watch more Hard Hat Harry, I told him that our bodies needed to be engaged in order to stay strong and grow. Later he said, “I’ve been playing really hard! Can I watch Hard Hat Harry now?”

What are your favorite educational TV shows? How long do you let your kids watch?