Friday, September 28, 2007

Scattered learning

Wow - I'm not very good at this game lately. In my defense we've been quite busy lately. Thursday was DH's birthday (the big 23), so Sophia and I had been "planning" our "party". Sophia is so sweet though - I swear she was more excited about her daddy's birthday than he was. Perhaps I shall give a run down of our (un)schooling that went on this week.

Monday - Sophia, Brenna and I took the 40 minute drive to post to go grocery shopping at the commissary. We've only done this once since moving because it really is so far... but so cheap! So - we made it a math and science field trip. I discovered (and it only took 5 months) that it is easiest to strap Brenna to me and let Soph sit in the seat so we can chit chat. So for math we counted everything we put in our cart (in multiples, like canned goods). We did adding when we had 3 cans of tomato paste but needed 5. Then we subtracted when Sophia told me we needed to leave some for other people, so we took the 2 we added away again. (It's not like we took the last 5 cans, there were at least 100+ of them) Science happened mostly in the meat section. Well... it started in the meat section, with a question about fish - then it proceeded to the fish section where they had a tank with live lobsters in it. Now does that just scream science or what?! Although, the man that was following the same "route" through the market as us had his fair share of chuckles... up until Sophia asked why the lobsters were alive but the salmon were dead... (see... culinary insight as well!) - I have taken an up front and honest approach to giving her the facts, so I told her that when people cooked lobster they needed them alive first. She figured out on her own that what I really meant was that they were cooked alive... of course the man that heard the other 90 minutes of our lesson missed that part but walked by just in time for her to ask if it hurt them and me say "I don't know, but they make a high pitched sound that is similar to a scream when they're thrown in the pot"... Sophia was fascinated... the man looked at us and said "wow, you're brutally honest"... luckily I didn't have to reply because Sophia chimed in with "Oh, it's ok - I'm allergic to lobster, so we wont eat them anyways"... ha... Yeah so that was Monday.

Tuesday - We went to Target to get cards for DH's birthday... and to see if perhaps we could find a little something for him, even though he was very very stern that he wanted no presents. Um... yeah right?! So I let Sophia pick out a card and I picked out a card. (She picked out a huge Spongebob card... so appropriate and way cute) Then she saw some blue ribbons that said "birthday boy" and she said that he needed one. I agreed so we tossed that in the cart. We then spent about an hour wandering around - Our conversation went like this -

Me - "What should we get daddy"

Sophia - "That"

Me- "What is that"

Sophia - "I don't know, what is it"

Me - "It's a fort, Daddy's to big for a fort"

Sophia " But I like the fort"

Me - "I know sweetheart, but daddy is too big for that fort, and I'm not sure he'd want it - but that was a really good suggestion"

*repeat 60 or so times replacing the fort with other objects such as crochet, princess dresses, hello kitty puzzles, AC filters, a set of dollhouse book selves, a few spiderman shirts (boys)... you get the idea. We arrived home barely in time to get dinner going... Alas, I succeeded

Wednesday - The most exciting day of Sophia's week... Gymnastics day. Nothing but gymnastics gets accomplished on Wednesdays because she is really just too excited to function. So we usually watch Peep to sneak in science... she usually wants an encore (yay science! Thank you Tivo!) We arrived quite early to gymnastics, and Sophia is one of 2 children there that are 3. She is by far the bittiest, but she so doesn't care. I watched through the glass as they all did forward and backward rolls into the foam pit. Then I watched as the 4 year old's in line in front of Soph said no to the rope (older kids climb it, little ones sit on the bottom knot and swing over the foam pit), Sophia hoped right on, held on tight and swung all the way across the foam pit without batting an eye (or falling off)... then she did it 3 more times, trying to get the other kids to do it to. When they were all done she came right up to me and said "Mommy! Did you see me swing?"... sure did! "Good, did you see I was Brave? I tried to help the other kids be Brave but they were too scared". Yay! My kid is brave. So that night DH was home before we were, and after dinner he announced he and Soph were going to the store to get the ingredients for cheesecake for his birthday. I thought it would stop there, 'cause Sophia and I had planned to make the cake Thursday while he was at work... well, I came downstairs after getting Brenna to sleep and they had already started.... oooooh brother. Now that was an adventure. It was ... borderline tragic. Here is why - 1. Sophia can't eat a single ingredient in a regular cheesecake (literally not 1) 2. DH refuses to believe I know more about baking than the numbers in a cookbook... so he neglected to heed my advice about too much butter in the crust 3. Sophia was "helping" us by throwing the almonds everywhere and 4. It was 10pm!

Well I was in charge of the filling, DH and Soph handled the crust. I suggested pre-baking the crust for a few minutes since it wasn't made of the normal ingredients... good thing I was very very firm in this suggestion because DH hadn't planned for me being right about the butter and it was dripping out the sides of the spring form and smoking out our kitchen as the butter hit the bottom of the oven... So we had to overcome that hurdle - DH Decided to make a chocolate swirl cheesecake... but I made the mistake of assuming it was common knowledge that when melting chocolate on the stove, it is done in a double boiler... we all know what one gets for assuming anything... So when I turn around and there is an entire bag of chocolate chips in a pan on the stove top, oh boy. I was beginning to wish I had put the nix on the project and insisted I do it myself with Soph the next day! By now, Brenna has awoken and Sophia's face is covered in cheesecake filling, and we FINALLY get the cake into the over for an hour. (By now it is 11:30pm). So by 2am I crawl into bed, after letting the cake cool all the way and what not I crawl into bed. I wanted to take a picture, but couldn't find my camera before it got cut into.

Needless to say... very very tasty considering there was no dairy, eggs, or wheat in it (and it is a cheesecake... a chocolate cheesecake). If anyone out there wants the recipe, please let me know - I'd love to share.

Thursday (I know, this is long) - DH's Bday. When Sophia woke up DH was already at work. I was downstairs hanging out with Brenna when I heard her at the top of the stairs having a total fit. Not the norm if I let her wake on her own. DH called just to say hi while this massive screaming fit was occurring. An hour later I finally got Soph to calm down enough to tell me what she was so upset about. She wanted to tell daddy Happy Birthday but he wasn't there anymore. So sad! So I distracted her by telling her that it was good he wasn't there because we had to make his present! So we made him picture frames out of Popsicle sticks and clothes pins for him to take to work. She LOVED it, I didn't even help her one bit. She "wrote" on his card and then told me i had to write it so he could read what it said - so we did that. Then we went to the library. There was a really nice little boy there that was also 3 and they took to each other very quickly. They were having so much fun playing that neither wanted to leave. His mom was really nice, although after 3 hours of our kids playing and us chatting away we never thought to get each others names (how rude am I?!?!). It was really nice though, because Sophia really needs some little friends and it's hard with Brenna being so young because it's not super easy lugging her around anywhere that is outside when it's in the 90s with 90% humidity.

Friday - Alas my week found an end... FINALLY. We went to dinner last night for DH's Bday, and then after devouring our delicious cheesecake Sophia was so excited about everything she didn't get to bed until gosh... midnight? (WHAT?!) I thought she'd sleep late... Nope. Up at 6:15. So we had a very early morning. But it was a pretty fun day, she told me she wanted to start doing homework. When I told her that all our "work" was homework she said... no like homework after dinner, with daddy. So I'm going to start giving the worksheets to her before DH gets home, for them to do either while dinner is cooking, or after dinner while dishes are getting done. Hopefully this works out because I really want her to enjoy the "traditional" aspects of learning for later on when it matters. But I definitely can't force this one to do it, so I'm glad she came to it on her own. The only fun thing we did all day was we dyed pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. I only had 1c. of rubbing alcohol so we had to be creative with how we went about the process. I used 2 glass measuring cups and put 1/2c rubbing alcohol in each. We started with yellow and red, so that we could add to them after the first batch was done and have 2 more colors. I let her put in the food coloring, and then I let her pick what color to add to the red and yellow to make 2 new colors. She picked blue for both to make purple and green. The purple and green turned out the best (I think she added a bit too much dye, but it worked out). Tomorrow we shall create with our pretty colored pasta in a bazillion shapes.

Thanks for following to the end :) If you made it this far you're a real trooper.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Long overdue

Well, here are the pictures as promised... in somewhat chronological order. So we arrived Wednesday, and didn't do much. On Thursday we went to the LA County Fair. Talk about some all around family fun. Huge! Good times, not so good french fries. There was a super huge Ferris Wheel.... not my forte. Sophia however loved it, she wanted to go on it again. I took a picture of it. I bet the view from the top was pretty sweet. So while Sophia was on the Ferris Wheel (with my sister). Pat saw a booth where you could win a guitar by throwing a dart. He made me a deal... if I won the guitar, he would carry it for the rest of the day. Well - I won the guitar on the 1st try (I know, I so rock), yet by the end of the day he was carrying Brenna and her carseat was carrying the guitar... hmmm I didn't see Sophia most of the day, although she did manage to pop up every now and then to make sure brenna was ok and not "lonely", or bored. I swear that little B is a trooper. We literally dragged her around for a week straight and she couldn't have cared less. Yeah, Soph likes Carousels - that has been establised. And Pony rides. And Ferris Wheel #2. Please note she went on probably 5 different Ferris Wheels. The 1st was by far her favorite. We stayed until about 8pm, long day for a little Brenna. She was quite thrilled to play with her newly acquired and quite age appropriate toys. Soph loves to help her play with them - she also likes to "read" Brenna her new book. So - we went to Knotts on hmm... Sunday (I know what happened to Friday and Saturday?!) Friday we did lots of not much. Oh I did discover LakeShore - very expensive, however they are based out of Carson, CA which is like 25 minutes from my mom's house. So they have an outlet and we went to check it out. So awesome. No words.... I should take a picture of all the crap good learning materials I purchased at almost too good to be true prices. Perhaps I'll take another picture... ha. And Andrea (aka sister) had her Bday.. the big 22 on Saturday so there was a BBQ. Knott's on Sunday... SURPRISE - there was a ferris wheel. And a truck ride... if I wanted to be entertaining I'd have posted the picture with my sister and mom sitting on the back of the truck... but I think I might get hated on for that. Red Barron!!!!!! Charlie Brown and Snoopy were definitely a staple of my youth. I didn't realize Sophia had never even heard of Snoopy or the Peanuts gang. Well we dug out some of our old VHS before we headed out and now she love's the good ol' Peanut gang. I must say, little kids on rides made to mimic adult rides are so too cute. This was taken on the way up, and once the other kids (all 3 of them) realized that the boy on the end had his hands up, they all put their hands up too. Way too cute. So on Monday we went to visit my grandma's house. Sophia really wanted to go to her house earlier in the week when we went to pick up supplies (read as folding chairs) for sister's Bday. However, she fell asleep and was sad she missed it... so we made a trip Monday. We went out to the patio and Sophia was amazed that the entire back of her house was windows (or french doors or sliding doors... but all glass). So she kept peeking in to look in the windows. When you see the view that Patrick (aka DH) is admiring, you can see why there are so many windows! Awesome awesome awesome. Sophia had fun wandering aimlessly and smelling YiaYia Annie's flowers. Good thing she has lots of them! So, that's what we did in a very very small nutshell. We also went to the museum of Natural History, which she loved. We thought she'd get bored after an hour, but when we finished the 1st floor she insisted that we go to the 2nd floor to see all the other animals, then she found out they had a discovery zone for kids and we went to that too.... sooo 3 hours later, we headed out. While in the discovery zone she followed around the vet that was taking care of all the snakes and asked her probably about a million questions. So after the museum we headed to my uncle's store downtown for some lunch. If you ever find yourself around Pico and Normandie in LA go to C&K Importing, he has a restaurant called Papa Christo's Taverna and it is so awesome. He has the absolute best Greek food ever. And the portions and prices are awesome - so perhaps I'm plugging his restaurant a bit, but I'd say the same things even if we weren't related! The flight both went well. Alas, I have tons of unpacking to do. Hopefully our "schooling" will be more on track now that all the traveling is done.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alas, we return

We have returned from CA. After a long long week (that felt like an eternity and a heart beat at the same time.) chalked full of many fun adventures (and learning I'm sure) - I shall post the play by play and pictures once my jet lagged little girl on CA time is finally sleeping. Just thought I'd let anyone still following along know - good times are a'comin'!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Silly Billies

So, last night I made a quick run to the library and flew solo. DH was making some chicken burgers and little B was sleeping so I planned my escape. I wanted to pick up some non-picture books and I knew that taking Soph along would not allow such a luxury. While I was there I dropped off her books from last week (another task that is not easy while trying to hold a little hand and juggle an infant carrier). She had been pretty negative about leaving the house for anything yesterday - and given the heat and the negative attitude I wasn't about to even attempt to force the issue. So, on the off chance that her mood was equally ucky today I picked up a few books, just to hold us over. Well she was so so excited that I came home with library books for her that she insisted we read them all. Immediately. After about 5 of them dinner was all done and off the grill so I told her she would have to wait for the rest - not happy but she got over it. Why the dissertation so seemingly unrelated to the subject title? We have a new favorite book! And as if that wasn't awesome enough, it is a mutual favorite! (although probably for different reasons) The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini. It is a really funny book, very silly and it incorporates a bunch of different children stories, which is why Soph likes it. And it is a good way to sneak in math! Which is why I like it. After we read it for the 5th time in one day, I went and found all the coins that were talked about and we "acted out" the story and added up all the coins and we got to work on coin value and she didn't even know it! Ha, I tricked that little one good! She really really doesn't like thinking I'm trying to "make" her learn. She likes to "surprise" me with what she has learned rather than be taught formally. I do suppose it is a good thing that I picked up on this early. *NOTE THIS IS REALLY LONG* you may want to skip it if you're crunched for time Now... on to the conversation we had in the car because I'm wondering if anyone out there had these moments when their kids were 3. So we're driving along and I don't know exactly what prompted the question, but Sophia asked who made her. And I was like "oh great - she's 3 and we've already had the death talk, and now we have to have the where do babies come from talk" So I answered her by saying, "well, Daddy and I made you" - dreading the "how" that I thought was about to come out of her mouth. Instead however - I heard "No. I mean who mademe. It was God right? God made me? Just like he made the ocean and the trees and all the other people? And why are we all here? Why did he make us?" Ok, so I was glad I didn't have to have a sex talk with my 3 year old... by why is she asking about the meaning of life at age 3? And how on Earth am I supposed to go about answering that? As I was not so gracefullystalling she seemed to answer her own question by saying "so we can be with other people right?"... right! Ok. So then once we got to Wal-Mart, they had their Halloween display up. Now, who in their right mind would put up a life-sized mummy that was motion activated to growl and be scary right next to the children's toys? Ok, not a good idea in my book. Sophia hatedit. She made it very clear that we were not to walk past it again(even as we were checking out). So then after re-assuring her that she'd be fine this conversation followed - (as if the why are we here talk wasn't enough) Sophia - "Mommy, what was that scary man, and why was he wearing toilet paper?" Me - "It was a mummy, and he wasn't wearing toilet paper, he was wrapped in cloth. But you don't have to worry because he wasn't real" Sophia - "So he wont hurt me?" Me- "No he wont, I promise" Sophia - "If he isn't real, why would they put him in a store and have him pretend to be real" Me- "Because that is how people decorate at Halloween time" Sophia- "Why would people want to put out scary ... what do you call them?" Me - "Mummies... they put them out because at Halloween people like to try and scare other people" Sophia - "I don't like that, I like Christmas better" Me - "me too" *by now we are in the car ready to head home... one would think a change of topic would be nice - or perhaps silence even* Sophia - "So... mummies aren't real? They don't exist?" Me- "No they don't... wait. They do, but they're not alive. So you really don't have to be scared of them" Sophia - "So mummies are real. But they are dead?" Me - "yes." - I proceeded to explain what they are blah blah blah. By now we're almost home. Sophia - "soooo... Adults like to pretend that dead mummies are really alive?" Me- "yes at Halloween time" Sophia - "and this is fun?" Me- "yes for some people" Sophia - "Mommy, that's not fun. It is mean. I'd rather pretend to be a princess." Yes I know that was really long.... but what?! Why why WHY am I explaining this to my 3 year old?! WHY DOES SHE CARE?! It's Halloween - can't she just accept it? Sure, I could have lied and said that mummies are not real, and cut my conversation in half, but I hate lying to her. And whenever I do just make things easier on myself she ends up calling me on it later and I don't want her to think I'm going to sugar coat everything... yeah yeah yeah. Am I alone on this one? Alrighty. I need to drag her to bed now. I meant to write about how even after I went to the library by myself yesterday, we went back today for 2 hours and checked out another 20 books - we ended up reading them all last night and she didn't want to return them yet so we just added to our collect. I almost feel bad hording so many books.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A weekend (and then some) in review

Well our weekend came and went, and seemed to have done so very quickly. My sister came out from CA to visit and that was a blast as usual :) We did some fun stuff, mostly the MD State Fair, but of course that is the one event when my camera was MIA (read as left in the car). Her flight came in a half hour late - so a 12:50am (yes that is am, as in the sun is sleeping) arrival turned into a 1:30am arrival. It's all fine and dandy though because I didn't mind. By the time we finally got back to the house and settled and all that good stuff it was around 3:30am and we didn't hit the sack until 4:30am-ish. Needless to say we were quite the cranky adults when an ecstatic Sophia woke up at 7am (I couldn't even tell you when the last time she was up that early was... it really has been that long). We hid our crankiness well and had a grand day. Since most of the time blends together, I shall talk in pictures - with a few tangents as I recall events. So what do you get when you mix a very sleepy Nouna (Godmother) and 2 pretty cute and equally tired children? Why bandanna peek-a-boo of course! At some point and time Sophia convinced Andrea (previously mentioned as "sister" and "nouna"... talk about a girl with a lot of names) that it would be super fun to go swimming - they may look happy but in fact it was 8am, and although the day got quite warm... it wasn't very warm at 8am. I'm pretty sure this was the point in which Andrea said "What did I sign u for?" A little while later, and long after Andrea was done with the whole swimming thing, Sophia decided she was going to put on her skirt and get in the pool. She said it was "in need of a wash" and proceeded to jump on into the pool. After about 10 minutes of wading around and splashing she climbed out and grabbed a towel. I asked her if she was done for a while and she said "yeah, my skirt is cleaner now, but the water made it to heavy to have fun in". Alrighty then. Sooo... at some point and time (please note I started writing this entry about 2 days ago, so I really have no concept of days anymore) we went to the mall to go on the carousel. I get very very dizzy on carousels, I get almost as dizzy just watching it spin around. I took one for the team to snag this picture. It was the only one that Sophia wasn't looking at me in, and it was the only one that wasn't blurry from the motion (go figure). She absolutely loves carousels. She went on it 3 times in a row before we called it quits and went to feed geese instead. The first 2 times she went in the spinning tea cup but I requested she ride a horse so I could get a picture. By the time she walked off she was so dizzy she couldn't even walk straight, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. So, this was after my sister left - Tuesday I believe. She has this new found thing for Polly Pockets (she calls them Holly Pockets, I tried telling her it was Polly pocket and she said, "I know it's Polly Pocket, but I like the name Holly better") - Andrea bought her a little set while we were waiting for the carousel to start back up (we had a half hour to burn) so she said decided it would be a great idea to take a wide eyed 3 year old into Limited Too. yeah that was fun. Anyhow, she is completely in love with her Holly Pocket and would play with it all day if given the chance. I figure it's good for the fine motor since the clothes are so darned little, and good imaginative play - so its all good (right?) So this is what Brenna does 85% of the day. She's perfectly content hanging out on her tummy while I fold and put away laundry or while Sophia sings her songs. I'm so blessed to have such an easy going 2nd child, and to have a 3 year old who didn't want me to take her baby sister back to the hospital a week after coming home.Yes, this would be Sophia singing to Brenna because she was upset. She doesn't look that upset, but she had just been poked in the eye by herself and was quiet unhappy about it. Sophia sang her Mary Had a Little Lamb - I love pictures of the 2 of them together, they always make me happy... ok well most of the time. And this... I am so proud of this I had to post a picture of it. Yesterday Sophia told me that she loved her finger puppets, but she needed a castle for them so she could put on a show. She told me that we should go buy a pink and purple castle. I said well I think I can make one... she did not believe me. As I was making it my DH was not so D and said "um, you realize you're using Personal pizza boxes and construction paper right? Do you really think she'll play with it"... well that was before I finished! After he said, wow that actually turned out a lot better than I though (yeah thanks for the confidence A-hole). I must say that it does look better in real life, but you get the point. Soph and I agree that the best part is that the roof with the flag comes off so the princess can be "locked in the tower". Usually she is rescued by the Circus Lion. But yeah, she liked it so much she asked if she could sleep with it... Sorry kiddo, 2 hours of being hunched over and about 50 paper cuts later... I wasn't about to let it be destroyed by a non-play method. Played to death - fine.... slept on to death - not fine. And yeah so today was a really really rough day. I don't know why really, it definitely wasn't Sophia or B, it was totally me. I think I was just really tired and having girl issues. It did become Sophia when we went to go to her very first gymnastics class and she fell asleep in the car and had a total hysterical fit. She totally loved it though and told me she never wanted to leave and that she needed a leotard so she could show her armpits. I watched her for a while through the glass and she had the biggest smile I've seen in a while. So yes that is good. She has so many things that she wants to do - its a good thing DH just got promoted. She also wants to do ballet and learn how to play the violin. Now... no one in our house plays violin, I don't think we've ever seen a person play the violin. I keep asking her why the violin and not the guitar or piano and she says that the violin is the most beautiful sound and it's littler than a guitar and there aren't as many strings and when I asked "well why not the piano" she said "mommy, where would we put a piano? there is no space" - touche. So tomorrow is library day, we are quite excited for some new books - hopefully we'll make it out of the house in time for story time... if not perhaps we'll go to the park and then the library. But clearly we're not so good at the whole "planning thing".