About, Adventures, art, Parenting, pregnancy

T- 8 Days / Everything is okay as long as the sun keeps shining.

As Pete the Cat always says, “The Sun is shining, I’m feeling alright!”

We’ve been getting a lot of outside time, soaking up as much sunshine as we can. We’ve even had a few days that we can describe as “warm”, and I am so thankful for it.

I tried to let some sun on my big belly in the hopes of encouraging the baby to come out, but that did not work. I’m still pregnant, but at least we are now in the single digits of this countdown.

My feet hurt, my back hurts, my head hurts, my groin joints hurt, my hips hurt when I lay in bed. Today the baby was squished up against my rib and I couldn’t turn my body to the left to look behind me when switching lanes very well.

We went to the zoo and playground and the boys had a brilliant time. The Tapir was running around and making a barking sound. The orangutan came right up to the window where they were watching. We saw the daddy and mommy lions sunning on the rocks, and then 6 baby ducks floated by in their little pond. We had a lot of fun and nobody got lost this time.

I did discuss beforehand with my 4-year-old what he should do if he felt lost and he agreed that he would stand in one spot and wait for me to find him. Luckily, though, he stayed fairly close to hand the whole time.

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We haven’t done a huge amount of art this week because we’ve been spending so much time outside, but they have been painting on the easel which I keep on the deck. We also made tape collages. Tomorrow we are going to the beach with a friend.

Yesterday, I felt a different sort of pain in belly. It was a sharp and squeezing sensation that was more painful than the ones I normally feel, but it didn’t last very long. Nonetheless I got a little excited until I realized 2 hours later that it wasn’t going to happen again. Both my husband and I feel that I probably won’t go into labor before the C-section next Friday, but I can still hope. We have no science to back up our “feeling” just thinking along the lines of, “Shouldn’t my body be doing something different if I was going to go into labor soon?” As far as I can tell, the baby hasn’t even dropped into my pelvis yet. Even though this is my third child, it would be my first labor so there’s a good chance it wouldn’t happen until after the due date anyways. All I can do is keep waiting.

 

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Adventures, art, pregnancy

17 days..no wait, it’s 18.

Mr. 2 enjoys matching games. He always seeks these out in the sticker activity book we sometimes use. It’s easy to make your own, though! Draw simple shapes or pictures and encourage your child to draw a line from one to the match on the other side.

Afterwards he saw some glue (Mr. 4 had been gluing stacks of paper together to make a “birthday cake”.) and wanted to put glue on top of his paper. I had to remind him several times to put things on the glue, but I think he mostly just liked the act of squeezing the bottle. We are now out of glue.


The doctor has scheduled us for a May 4th C-section. May the 4th be with you. My husband is very pleased. He said to me that all of our birthdays are easy to remember and May 3rd is just not an easy to remember date. Also, he likes Star Wars.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind having the baby 5 minutes ago, but I suppose I need to be patient. We could still go into labor before that day. It’s a possibility. I am trying (and failing) not to obsess over it.


It’s been really rainy here, but every once in a while the rain will stop.

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We are just trying to have fun and keep busy. Wednesday night, my husband will take me to the Astros at Mariners baseball game. And, last weekend we took the boys to Great Wolf Lodge.

Great Wolf Lodge is an interesting place, and I haven’t heard anyone say anything negative about it. I’ll be the first, because my kids just aren’t ready to really enjoy it yet. Mr. 2 was fine, he liked sticking his hands and feet in all the water spraying, and he even tried the tiny kid slid. He also enjoyed the wave pool. Mr. 4 was overwhelmed by all the people and noise and didn’t really like the water, either. (They have only gone swimming once in the last year, and that was last month.)

Mr. 4 also had a hard time falling asleep in the hotel room. Most of the traveling we do involves us flying to Texas and sleeping at Oma’s house, so he doesn’t get a lot of hotel and sleeping in strange places experience. Mr. 2 just seems more naturally adaptable and slightly more adventurous. Also, the food wasn’t great.

Still, I can see why most people have a wonderful time there. When the kids get older and more confident I believe we will try again.

art, Parenting

Keva Plank Art

Mr. Conductor, who is almost 4 years old, begged and begged for these KEVA blocks last Christmas. He really enjoyed playing with them at the Pacific Science Center, and at his friend’s house. After he had his wish granted, he played with them everyday for a week or two and then drifted away from them. My conclusion was that he was frustrated that  he couldn’t build anything interesting by himself. The planks are lightweight and move too easily to build anything securely and things would get knocked over very easily.

I thought I would try to show him a different way of playing with them today, so I tried using them to make 2D pictures instead.

They quickly took apart my creations and tried to make their own. Mr. 2 made a “sidewalk” and Mr. 4 wanted to make a slide via the instruction booklet.

“Are we architects?” he asked.  Yes, we are.

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Mr. Conductor ended up very frustrated again, and I tried to encourage him not to give up. Practice would help him get better! In the end he said, “I’m just not a good architect!”

Mr. 2, on the other hand, was a little frustrated when his pieces kept falling off the table, but he was singing “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” (Bob the Builder) nearly the whole time and never let it affect his mood.

It made me very sad to hear Mr. Conductor make his pronouncement. Both of my boys love to build, build, build. Destroy and build again. After the planks they built more things:

I need to find a way to help Mr. Conductor retain a positive attitude even when he struggles. I would also like him to understand that failing at a project doesn’t make you bad at something, and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person.


26 more days until the baby!

Math, Projects

Train Whistle Chain – A self initiated project

This is an example of how a child can take initiative in their own growth and learning through play.

When we first made the baby due date counting chain out of paper rings, it was super long. When I hung it between the outer edge of the curtain rod and the middle support screw, Mr. Conductor (almost 4) would pull on it and yell “Whoo Whoo, All aboard!” In fact, he enjoyed doing this quite a lot.

He did notice, though, that the chain kept getting shorter and shorter. Now that we have less than 30 days, the chain is too short to have the desired effect. He told me he wanted to make his own chain so he could keep playing with the train whistle. He picked out the paper, he got his scissors and all the colorful tape.

I showed him that folding the paper first provided us lines to cut by. By the end of the session I couldn’t tell his strips of paper from my strips of paper and he was even folding the paper himself. He also thoroughly enjoyed cutting the tape and putting it on the rings to make them hold together.

We only got about half-way with the chain before his interest flagged and he started cutting zig-zags and being silly, but he worked hard for about an hour while his brother napped. I was pretty impressed.

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Do you remember my preschool goal list from a few days ago? Well check off: Scissor practice, following directions, working on a project for a long period of time, working together, taping, folding, planning, executing, counting, patterns/design, etc. Some of those things weren’t on there? They are important none the less. Also, he was extremely proud of himself and couldn’t wait to show Daddy his new folding skills.

 

About, art

It’s Easter – Surprise!

I am very bad at holidays and special occasions. For example, the older boy turns 4 in 10 (!!!) days and I have done nothing to plan the celebration. I haven’t even thought about the cake yet. I think he wants one from the store, but do I need to order it ahead of time?

Well, it turns out tomorrow is a holiday. (Easter). My mom sent presents a week ago, I’ve gotten a few email reminders from the charities and one from tinker lab about Easter art projects. It’s the night before and I put myself and my husband to work to get ready for tomorrow.

My husband’s job was to put together the bikes we bought them before Christmas. We’ve been waiting for nice weather and even though it’s going to rain tomorrow I think it is time.

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I put myself to work making some small easter decorations. Inspired by the email from tinker lab, I repurposed some of their paintings and cut out Easter bunnies and eggs. Tomorrow they can hang them on the string.

Finally, I filled some colorful plastic eggs with pom-pom balls and hid all the presents around the living room area. We are as ready as we are going to get.

Are you ready?

Happy Holidays!!

 

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.

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? (:

Projects

Valentines Collage

This is a gentle reminder that Valentines day is February 14th!

First, a Valentines craft:

Today, the kids and I made some valentines day cards. Really, this was just a collage.

You need construction paper, glue, scissors. You can add any theme related tidbits you have. We had some jeweled hearts that the boys really liked gluing to their papers.

Mr. 3 decided to take the project in a completely different direction after he finished his decorating, and wanted to build 2 rocket ships.

Mr. 1 really enjoyed this project. We did the glue together (I helped squeeze and he told me where to put it) and then he put the decorations on top of the glue blobs.

I cut out different shapes for them to use: hearts, diamonds, moons, stars, flowers.

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I’m quite pleased with our results!

Second, some gift ideas:

For my husband, I am making Heavenly Scotch Ham and leaving him the rest of a fancy bottle of scotch.

For me, I asked for flowers and part of the Brandon Sanderson Mistborn series.

For my dinosaur obsessed kids I got them the Dinosaur Train A to Z book, which I thought would just be pictures and lyrics to the song but actually includes information for each of the dinosaurs they list in the alphabet song! Also, they are getting a Dinosaur sticker and activity book made by Roger Priddy who I think has best sticker/activity books for preschoolers.

Do you have any valentines plans?

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*

Projects

Holiday Window Decorations

It turns out the “decorate your own Christmas tree” was a good idea. It was the execution that I had wrong!

 

Mr. 3: Mommy, I want to decorate Christmas trees. First you have to cut them out, THEN hang them on the window, and THEN we decorate them. That’s (plays with fingers) 3 things we have to do! Cut, Hang, Decorate! 

Well now I know.

Both boys really enjoyed putting the stickers on the trees and spent about 45 minutes decorating all the trees I cut out. Mr. 1 started decorating his arm instead, near the end.

You will need:

-Paper

-Scissors

-Stickers

-Tape ( I ran out of scotch tape so I used colorful Washi tape. You can also use these to decorate your trees or whatever holiday shape you choose.)