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.

 

 

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Science

Nature’s favorite building blocks are…

Quarks!

When I think of “Quark” I think of the creamy sauce my mother makes using (I only guess here) sour cream, dill, chives, garlic, and parsley. She used to serve it with boiled potatoes. I would consider doing the same myself, as I remember it being delicious, but my husband has put his foot down about serving potatoes too many times a week, and therefore I don’t have enough of an excuse to dress them up. He wouldn’t eat it anyways. *grumbles about picky eaters*

If you were thinking the answer to the question “What is nature’s basic building block?” was ATOMS, you, my friend, are sadly outdated. Apparently, nature now builds with Quarks which stick together to form Atoms. Actually, I think nature has always built with Quarks, but we just didn’t have the knowledge or a cute little name to call them. Now we know!

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This book, Baby Loves Quarks!, has explained the concept to me in a way I can understand. It has super cute and colorful pictures and simple sentences that even I can understand the concept. It also expands outward and explains protons, neutrons, atoms, and elements. I highly recommend this as a fun read for both parents and baby geniuses. (My normal children seemed to enjoy it too.)

My FAVORITE science joke EVER is:

Two atoms are sitting in a bar. The first turns to the second and says, “I think I lost an electron!”

The second atom asks, “are you sure?”

The first atom replies, “I’m positive!!”

Teeheheeehahahahaha. I love that.

I was trying to write my own joke for this post, but the best I could come up with is:

What are ducks made out of? Quarks! (….because it sounds like Quack. I’ll show myself out now.)

About

August

The month is almost over! It seems to me that the older we get the faster time seems to go by. You also get a speed boost for each child you have. When I had only 1 child it felt like I had a handle on the passage of time, but with two children I sometimes wake up and realize the month is over already.

The 3-Year-Old

He hasn’t worn a diaper since the beginning of the month, and I am trying to learn to trust him and not nag him so much about “Do you need to pee? Do you need to poo?” I know it is frustrating to him to be asked these questions constantly, but he does still forget to take care of himself sometimes. Still, I am so relieved he has finally made the leap and is mostly accident free, even at night.

He is obsessed with Blippi the TV show. In fact he spent nearly 2 hours watching Blippi on the Kindle today.

I did not let him watch TV until he was nearly two years old, but his brother (who is 1) will follow him around and watch the show with him for as long as it is playing. I’m torn between enforcing limits for the two and letting him learn his limits on his own.

I try to think back to when I was young and single and lived in my own apartment. I watched a lot more TV but I usually only watched it while “studying” or doing homework. I also played a lot of video games. Yes, he is 3, but part of me thinks he should still get to play the games he wants to play.

I had him pause the video and told him how watching too much television wasn’t good for his brain or his body. That he needed to play games and run around so his brain can form new connections, so that he can learn new things, and so that his muscles and bones will stay strong and healthy. Then I took his brother for a nap.

20 minutes later he came into the room and laid down with me. It turns out the Kindle ran out of battery. I told him that made me happy and I reminded him why watching too much television wasn’t good for us. Then he asked me to read 9 books (always 1 more!) and fell asleep pretty quickly after the read-a-thon.

The 1-Year-Old

Mr. 1 has started doing board puzzles.

My favorite is Melissa and Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle, and his favorite is Melissa & Doug Vehicle Sound Puzzle.

He still has a little trouble turning some of the bigger pieces when they have the little peg, because he insists on using the peg, but he has shown great improvement over the last week.

He is also becoming more independent and wants to do everything himself. Unfortunately, he is also easily frustrated and spends a lot of the time shrieking when something goes wrong. He is trying, and he knows how to ask for help, so I try to be patient and let him learn.

<35> Week Old

It is still early. In fact, I was supposed to get my period today. Instead I have:

  • Nausea and gas
  • Fatigue
  • Fuller, more sensitive breasts
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Constant thirst and increased hunger

I don’t know if it’s related, but sometimes my spit turns to glue in my mouth. It’s pretty weird.

Mr. 3 keeps asking if I’ve been to the hospital yet, and I have to explain that it will take a while for the baby to be fully grown. Mr. 1 has no idea what’s happening.

I hope you all had a satisfying month!

games

Game: What am I making?

This is a game that works well with play dough. Both my children enjoyed this and took turns guessing. The concept is simple and the game can last as long as there is interest.

Make your play dough into different forms and have them guess what you are making. You don’t need a special talent. If they are having trouble you can use noises and motion to help them guess. I don’t have pictures but some other things we made included:

  • horse
  • people
  • kite
  • rocket ship
  • airplane

My 17 month old even plopped a lump on the table and made the rocket ship motion and noise. I think he was trying to make his own rocket ship! My three year old did not make any shapes but seemed to enjoy guessing.

If you have older children you can play that the first person to guess correctly gets to make the next item.

What is the coolest thing that you or kids have made with play dough?

 

Adventures

Pike Place Farmer’s Market

Last week we went to the Pike Place Farmer’s Market.

In Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling he says to be wary of going on field trips for field trips sake. He emphasizes that your children will learn more and better if it’s something they or you are interested in, or if it’s necessary to go.

(I’m still working my way through the book, but it is not quite as inspiring as I found Learning All the Time to be. This is because some of the anecdotes are the same and Teach Your Own is less John Holt and more just letters from parents to his Growing Without Schooling magazine. )


Well we had to go to the Farmer’s market at Pike Place for two reasons:

1. That is where Bavarian Meats, the only German store and deli that I am aware of in this area is located.

2. We needed to buy some local honey.

Also as a bonus reason, we were out of fruit at home.

The boys both enjoyed the trip.

We parked at the Target because it is free if you spend at least $20 at Target, and we needed towels and underwear for Daddy.

Then we walked one block and found ourselves at the market. First stop was the honey, which was quick and easy.

Next, we threaded our way through the crowds (even on a weekday morning) to the other end of the market to find the German store. We stocked up on wieners, Knackwurst, and Bratwurst, and pretzel bread. I also got some Grießbrei pudding mix.

The ladies at the store are super sweet and they gave each of my boys a wiener, and then I received a smoked sausage as well.

Then we walked by the Beechers cheese shop where you can watch them making cheese in large tubs. Mr 3. was fascinated with this and we watched for quite a while.


Then we pushed our way back to one of the fruit markets and purchased some beautiful blueberries, raspberries, and a bunch of bananas. The boys were still hungry after the sausage so we went to the waterfront viewing area to eat some of the bananas.  The viewing area was really just 4 windows that looked past highway 99 to the water. The boys enjoyed watching the cars and trucks on the highway.


We finished up our trip by going back to Target. At this point Mr. 1 fell asleep in the stroller and Mr. 3 got really grumpy. When I was paying he refused to walk forward and wandered away toward the cereal. He then caused a scene when I insisted he listen and get in the stroller, resulting in my losing my place in line and forcing him into the stroller. 5 minutes later he was asleep in the car.

I let them sleep in the car, and when they woke up I made quesadillas and let them enjoy the berries. A colorful market lunch.


Overall it was a fun time, and we will go again in a few months for more German food.

Daily Lessons

Traveling with Young Children

My kids are no strangers to airplanes. They don’t do too well in the car for long periods of time, but they are great at flying. Here are some tricks we’ve learned along the way!

Young babies are very simple. You hold them on your lap and encourage them to sleep. If they are awake on take off or landing, you want to be sure to feed them to help with the air pressure change. Hold them and bounce them in your arms while standing in the aisles if they get restless.

Once your child is 2 years old you will be required to purchase them a seat on the airplane. I strongly recommend you bring their airplane approved car seat. It should have a sticker somewhere on it that says it is FAA approved.

The car seat will keep your toddler from escaping and even provide a more comfortable place to sleep. Most toddlers are used to falling asleep in the car, so the airplane should not be much different.

Next, be sure to bring some distracting and satisfying games and snacks.

Activities
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  1. Play Dough – I use Rachelle’s recipe at TinkerLab and just put a small amount in a baggie. My 3 year old loves playing with his diggers and the play dough and this keeps him very buys at home. Play dough is sticky though, so be sure to bring parchment paper to protect whichever surface you are playing on.
  2. Crayons and coloring/activity book. Great for all ages.
  3. Stickers/Tape – This can keep both my 1 year old and 3 year old busy for a long period of time. You can stick them on the back of some coloring sheets.
  4. Small but well loved books that you do not mind re-reading several times.

For this trip we are bringing Peek-A-Who which is an all time favorite with my 1 year old. We are also bringing Calling All Cars a lego story about a bank robbery. My toddler has been enjoying this series for the last few weeks. Most of the books are hard to read for me because the text can be a little annoying, but this one was pretty good.

Snacks

The best snacks are ones that aren’t devoured in five seconds. You want this to take a while…

Did you know you can bring food through security? You are not allowed liquids but solid food is allowed! 

I like to bring:

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  1. Small or cut up pieces of fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, pear, apple. You don’t want to choose things that can get too mushy and sticky such as banana and some peaches. (Not pictured because I want them to be as fresh as possible; I promise I will offer my kids fruit! )
  2. Chex mix. I use Chex cereal and pour in planters mixed nuts – low sodium. Sometimes I add broken pretzel sticks if we have them at home.
  3. Cheerios (plain) for young babies or young toddlers.
  4. Raisins are sticky but my kids love them.
  5. Other easy non perishable snacks such as yogurt melts, fruit chews, granola bars.

Just Remember:

You know your children best, and these are just suggestions to get you thinking. You can even ask them to help pack and choose a few of their favorite small toys (that they might not be broken up about if they get lost)… my kids love doing this.

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I hope you have a great trip!

 

About

Mother’s Day 2017

I’m having a wonderful day today, and I hope that you are too! My day has been full of happy surprises.I got to sleep in all the way to 8 am, and when I came out of the bedroom there was breakfast on the table and a hot cup of tea. Then, my husband took Mr. 3 to the grocery store while the baby was napping and I had a whole hour to myself to read and play with my new Kindle 8HD. But that’s not all, folks! They came home with beautiful flowers. Later the baby took his first few independent steps while playing basketball!  I’m so happy I could burst! Thank you!

Projects

Project: Baby Obstacle Course

My little one is 14 months old, today, and still not walking independently. This is fine, I understand everyone learns at their own pace. He shows a lot of interest in walking, and constantly wants to be assisted. We spend a lot of time with him walking in front of me while I hold his hands.

To keep the game more interesting and help him build the strength, coordination, and balance he needs to do it on his own, I built an obstacle course for him. This is so quick and easy to do; all you need is pillows, boxes, balls, or other similar household goods.

The little one went around 8 times before he needed a break and wanted to play with the balls. He really enjoyed climbing over the pillow mountains and he was breathing hard after all of his laps.

When the little one got tired, the dog and the 3 year old joined in. The dog seems to think that any pillow on the floor is for her.

Daily Lessons, Projects

Construction Site

This post is mainly about construction sites, and a little play dough project follows at the end. 

In Seattle, you can get in free to most major museums on Free First Thursday. That’s the first Thursday of every month. Today we were going to go to the Museum of History and Industry because Mr. 3 wanted to “ride up and down in the elevator” and also because they have an exhibit on building the rail road track in Seattle. It’s pretty fun because the kids get to pretend to hammer in the rail road nails and it makes loud noises.

IMG_6232Well, we made it down to South Lake Union, but we never made it to the museum. We were distracted by an awesome construction site.

The kids were so excited to see a construction site in action because usually we end up being close to one on the weekends, or in the car where they can not see as well.

[Side note: I think this is where the new Facebook buildings will go.]

There were so many things going on at this construction site! My favorite thing was probably watching them work on constructing a larger crane. We saw the white crane lift and move the wheel tracks for the big blue crane, and watched the workers attach it to the body.

We saw two different excavators. The orange one had a jack hammer attachment and was breaking up concrete from what was left of the parking lot. And the yellow one came by and dropped sludge close to us. I admit I shrieked with excitement to see how much came out.

It was pretty exciting and we talked and watched for about 30 minutes about the different equipment and things that we saw. We talked about colors, we counted excavators, we talked about how the workers use team work and planning to get everything done. We probably should have talked about safety (glasses and hard hats, and those bright neon jackets). 

My husband mentioned that he heard from a distant relative who works in construction that there are 162 active cranes in Seattle. I don’t know how accurate that is, but there were at least 5 active constructions sites between the one we were at and our lunch date with Daddy. [We went to Serious Pie & Biscuit, which is amazing and you should try it if you visit Seattle.]IMG_6255

When the kids finally got tired of the construction site we walked around the park at South Lake Union. We saw a gaggle of geese. This was particularly interesting because there were 3 generations of geese there!

You can’t see it in the picture, but there were teeny tiny yellow baby geese floating off to the side. SO ADORABLE! Still, we didn’t get too close because geese can be mean.

And boy do they poop. In the grass, on the sidewalk, in the water. Poop Poop Poop.

Then we went tIMG_6256o look at boats and play around until it was time to go eat.

Mr. 14 months is getting better at walking, and managed to walk a significant distance holding only one of my hands. He’s getting SO close to walking on his own. And of course he had to go up and down the stairs a few times. Neither of my boys ever avoid a staircase if they can help it. Good for them.

We also read some signs about the South Lake Union boating history. They used to build pleasure and fishing boats right there where the park is. And apparently a lot of Salmon swim in that lake, or at least they used to in the 1900’s.

There is supposed to be a thunderstorm this afternoon, but so far we have had the most beautiful day. Sunny and mid 60’s, and I am so thankful that we had such great time.

When the kids wake up, we may play construction site to reinforce some of the things we talked about. We use TinkerLab’s homemade play dough. This stuff is so nice, and the first batch we made last November is still in use several times a week. [All though the color is now brown because it all got mixed together.] We have some small construction trucks and I’m going to add some popsicle sticks and pebbles to clear out.

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Play Dough Construction Site

Requires:

Play Dough (make your own or store-bought)

Optional:

Little Trucks, cut up straws, popsicle sticks, marbles or little stones

Set up the construction site to invite your child’s interest and let them destroy or add to it as they like. 

I hope you had a beautiful day, too!

By the way, those cute little trucks are 5 for $10 on Amazon. Check it out! [Affiliate Link]

 

 

 

History, Science

Trains, Trains, Trains

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do in the morning?

Three: Play with TRAINS!

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do… in the afternoon?

Three: Play with TRAINS!

Me: What’s your favorite thing to do in the evening?

Three: Read a book… and play with trains!

Does that sound familiar to you? Is your child obsessed with particularly fond of trains?

We check out a great deal of train books at the library, and he was lucky enough to receive a train table and train set from his Oma for Christmas. (That’s german for “Grandma”).

Whoo whoo

The latest train book we have read is Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train by Anne F. Rockwell. We have read a lot of train books, but I have never seen the word Semaphore before. Also, this book is full of bright pictures and has special emphasis on identifying colors. Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 both really like it and want to read it again and again.  (Amazon)

Semaphore: One of the earliest forms of fixed railway signal is the semaphore. These signals display their different indications to train drivers by changing the angle of inclination of a pivoted ‘arm’. [Wikipedia]

Basically, the trains use it to send messages like “Stop”, “Caution”, or “Clear”. Apparently it’s been around since the 1840’s and hasn’t even changed too much over the years.

Steam TrainOne of my personal favorite train books is Steam Train Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker. The reason I like this one, is not only does it rhyme, but it names all the different types of freight train cars. Now if we see a big freight train go by, I can remind the kids what they are called. (Amazon)

 

Autorack – I have never seen one of these, but that would be awesome! They are used like an auto carrier/car transporter.

Box Car – General purpose – I think these are the most common

Flatbed Car – Just like a flatbed truck… it’s flat and used to carry large things.

Freezer Car – Used to store cold goods

Tanker Car – Used for transporting liquids and gas, such as oil and gas.

Well Car – This sits a little lower than the traditional flatbed car and allows for double stacking shipping containers.

Gondola Car – A train car that has short walls but is open on the top, it can carry loose items.

It has been a while since I read that book, so I might be missing a few from the list, but it is very interesting.

Now I’m going to reward your continued reading with some interesting facts about trains. Links to original source are included.

  • The first railways in Great Britain were made between 1603 and 1604 as a simple “wagonway”. Modern railways came in the 1800s. (Source)
  • The U.S. embraced four time zones only after trains enabled fast travel across the continent. (Source) They are not to be blamed for day light savings time, though.
  • The word “train” dates back to the 14th century. Its original meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, was: “Treachery, guile, deceit, trickery; prevarication.” (Source)
  • Ore trains in Sweden traveling down to the coast generate five times the amount of electricity they use, powering nearby towns and the return trip for other trains. (Source)
  • You can ride the Hogwart’s Express (movie version) in Scotland, although they do not call it that there. (Source)

Hopefully you have some new train facts to share with your kids.

Feel free to share your favorite train fact or train book below in the comments!