Monday, October 29, 2007

Unplugged Project

This past weekend we partook in our first ever Unplugged Project! Pumpkin painting. Oh what a spectacular adventure it was. For those of you who may be unaware of the Unplugged Project, it is the brain child of Unplugged Mom, and it involves various activities that don't include anything electronic. Here are the pictures that resulted. Of course I made one too. More later - I must feed my youngest youth now. I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget to post ;)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Trapped indoors

Yes - we are trapped indoors. It has been raining since Tuesday - pretty much non-stop. Now, I am all for going outside and running around and getting so cold and wet that the only thing left to do is come inside and take a nice bath/shower. Well, Sophia didn't want to, and I did realize that perhaps Brenna wouldn't appreciate that much either. Needless to say, I was out voted 2 - 1. So instead we had a rather uneventful week (yes, by this point I realize that "uneventful" is quite the norm.) The high point was way back on Monday when we went to our first Preschool Co-op. Oh it was FANTASTIC! The other moms were so nice, and all the kids were so nice. It was so great. And even though it was our first day, there were other stragglers that stumbled upon the group by accident as well - the more the merrier right? So there ended up being about 20 preschoolers - that's nearly a classroom full. Sophia had a great time, the theme was pumpkins so they read pumpkin books and did some pumpkin crafts and sang pumpkin songs. Oh it was grand. My camera is MIA or I'd have taken/posted pictures.

One of the crafts was the 5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate. Well - not only did Sophia insist very adamantly that she do all the cutting herself (others let their moms help, probably for the sake of time... as we only got to do 1 craft), AND she refused to put faces on her pumpkins because the poem went 5 little PUMPKINS sitting on a gate.... not 5 little JACK O LANTERNS. Touche.

I really don't know what we did the rest of the week, gymnastics of course, library twice. Lots of reading, tons of singing and dancing. Oh and we did our Unplugged Project (pictures Monday!). very messy, but that's OK - I'm getting used to the fact that anything fun with a 3 year old is going to be messy.

Other than that - nothing. Oh I did chop off my hair and we woke up to a foyer full of ants this morning. Needless to say I'm letting DH deal with that, while I sit here, post to my blog and tickle Brenna. I do believe another trip to the library is in order - but that will have to wait until they're open.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sneaky Kate Tagged Me!

So I was tagged to list 8 things I like about myself. It's really hard to think of 8 things about myself that I like enough to mention. Here goes nothin'

I like that

1. I still manage to surprise myself.

2. I have 2 children that surprise me just as much.

3. I sing with my kids even though I can't carry a tune in a bucket (and they both sing right along)

4. I know myself enough to know when I should steer clear of people as to not spread my case of the crankies (this tends to be rather often at times)

5. I tend to have a very keen 3rd person perspective.

6. I don't sugar coat things, or beat around the bush

7. my DH puts up with me (ok I guess that's something I like about HIM, but I'm running out of things!)

8. I have overcome my distaste for cleaning up paint... thanks much in part to the genius at Crayola that made everything "washable".

I'm supposed to tag 7 people or something like that - however the only people that probably read this have either a) been tagged or b) saw a blog that had already done it and felt inspired. So I do believe that I shall retire the chain (sorry I'm really just not that popular). If someway somehow someone reads this silly little blog that I don't know about, feel free to work your brain for 8 things you like about yourself.

That being said, I think I'm going to take it one step further and list 8 things I would like to change. Here's the kicker... I'm going to actively try and actually make these changes - rather than whine and say "oh blah blah" which is usually what I do. Perhaps publishing it for the world (or 5 other people) to see will make it more concrete.

I would like to

1. Be more tidy on a day to day basis... not just when company is coming

2. Take Sophia to the park more often

3. Be more positive about myself and life in general - this includes not being negative about how people in MD drive

4. Remember with success that Sophia is only 3 and it's not entirely her fault that she doesn't listen to me (ever)

5. Remember that respect is a 2 way street, and the best way to get respect is to give it (yeah, talkin' about my 3 year old again)

6. Actually go to the gym rather than whine that I want to

7. Be more frugal/thrifty and actually completely adhere to my carefully contrived budget

8. Actually tell my DH how awesome he is rather than tell everyone else but forget to tell him.

Hopefully this list will be completed. Definitely not today, more than likely not tomorrow... but I'll get back to you someday. And as hard as it was to pick 8 things I liked, it was just as hard to pick 8 things I wanted to actually truly change.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The New Rotavirus "vaccine"

Ok - So this post has nothing to do with school... well I guess it does have something to do with lessons learned however. Brenna had her 6 month check up yesterday. She's still way to little. She's only 12.8 lbs and 26 3/4 inches. the doctors have NO clue why she is so tiny because she eats about 28-32 oz of formula (nutramigen... good stuff too!) AND at least 1 meal of solid food a day. yet she's still so tiny! Hmmph I wish that were my problem. Anyhow, so they're making me drive into downtown to go to John Hopkins to have a sweat test done on her to rule out any horrible things like CF. (God I hope it's not CF). She's had a permanent "cold" since birth where she's always congested. So the doc listened more carefully than one would usually, and said that I was right and she could hear something in the right middle lobe of her lung - so we had chest x rays done and it wasn't pneumonia... great but what is it? Now the lesson learned part of my adventure. There is a "new" rota virus "vaccine" that they give infants orally to help and build an immunity to the virus so that they don't get the uber poopies, because I guess diarrhea can be fatal for infants - well I didn't really think they were serious when they said to wear gloves and not use the cloth diapers for about a week or I'd get it... I figured if I just wash my hands as usual I'd be fine. WRONG. So wrong. So now my little one has this great "resistance" to rota virus... but I'm miserable! Good golly I hope Sophia doesn't get it. I'm trying to keep her away from both me and Brenna, it's not working so well. The moral of the story - Gloves no cloth - doctor's orders!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Slow week and Pumpkins

Well... It seems that not much of anything got accomplished since my last post. I'm sure that more gets accomplished than I recall by the time I get around to posting. It I don't have a picture of it, I don't seem to remember it - gosh I'm getting old. We do lots and lots of puzzles. It would be silly to take pictures of all of the puzzles we do. This one is an alphabet puzzle with pictures of words that start with that letter beneath where the letter goes. It is working quite well with Sophia learning letter sounds. Sometimes she surprises me. Like when we were looking at a catalog today(her new thing is she likes to look at catalogs and dog ear what she wants....even if it's a curtain catalog) - there was this doll that I'm 99% sure she's never seen before, and I sure had never seen it but there was a dialog bubble that said "Uh-Oh, I made stinky" - and Sophia looked at it and she said "mommy I want that doll. She says Uh-Oh".... what? Perhaps it was coincidence. We dress up all the time... usually I don't find dress up picture worthy - unless she is wearing belle, Cinderella, little mermaid, sleeping beauty AND snow white all at the same time. I don't even know how that's physically possible - I wouldn't think they'd fit. My child defies all odds. The definite highlight (and only thing I really remember well) of the entire week was Friday when my bestest friend Maxine, her fiance and the kiddos and I went pumpkin picking at the ONLY farm around here that actually had pumpkins for picking! Oh it was a blast. She picked out her very own pumpkin. It was little and a bit lopsided, but it's the one she wanted so I wasn't about to tell her it wasn't good or anything like that. 'Cause it was perfect and adorable. We also "planted" seeds in her window greenhouse so we can see how plants grow. They suggested Lima beans - we went with morning glory seeds we harvested from our morning glories growing on our front steps. We hung them in her bedroom window so they can get lots of sunlight and she can see the daily progress. Hopefully it will go well. We also went to the newly opened Lakeshore Learning store. If heaven was a place on earth... it would be Lakeshore. It's a CA based store so I grew up with it- imagine my excitement when I found out there were opening one 10 minutes from our house. They're an teeny bit pricey, but some of their things are very reasonable... and they offer homeschoolers the same discount as teachers (15%) . I got lots of good stuff from them. Like Write and wipe numbers and letter books and a real cool teaching clock... oh it was fun. They have a website too at . Great stuff. Well that's abouts it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Book Reviews

Well - it's hard to narrow down our list of favorite books. We have many of them. Most of them are classics that are probably very well known. So rather than list reviews and opinions about books known to most, I figured I should try and pick some that might not be as well known. Here goes nothin'

Tomie dePaola is one of our very favorite all time authors. I'm sure that most have read Strega Nona. Our new favorite is The Art Lesson. This is the story of little Tommy who loves to draw. He draws and draws and draws, and is so excited when it's time to go to school because his big brother told him that he gets to have real art lessons once in school. In the end we find out that little Tommy is grown up and in fact the story is the story of Tomie dePaola himself. Sophia loved reaching the end to find out that this little boy grew up and was able to do exactly what he wanted to do his whole life. She looked at me with wide eyes and said "Mommy! He did it. He's a real artist." I think it is a wonderful story to show young children that they really can be whatever they want if they work hard at it.

Graeme Base is another favorite author of ours. I loved reading The 11th Hour as a kid, and loved solving the mystery of "who did it" - but at 3 true appreciation of the story is a bit above Sophia. Uno's Garden and The Water Hole are more on her level, and are both fantastic lessons about our world and how important it is to give back what we take.

Uno's Garden is about Uno, a man that travels to the jungle and loves it so much that he decides to stay. Over time more and more people come and build more and more buildings. As the buildings double, the animals and plants all but vanish until there are no more plants or animals left. Once all the people realize that there are no more trees they all leave and the city is abandoned - except for Uno and his garden and one long animal. Uno's children continue to tend to his little garden and over time the forest and it's animals start to come back. It takes many many years but eventually the balance is restored.

The Watering Hole is along the same lines, but it features animals from all over the world - many of which are endangered. It is the story of a "secret" water hole that the animals drink from, unaware that they are not the only animals aware of this "secret". Over time more animals come to drink and the water hole gets smaller and smaller until it is gone. Then it rains - and all the animals come together to drink once again. The story is nice, but our fun lay in finding the "hidden" animals within the artwork (how we love Base's illustrations!)

Alice the Fairy by David Shannon is great too. No, David! is also one of Sophia's favorites, but I think upon the discovery of Alice, poor David got tossed from the top of the list. The book is about a little girl who likes to pretend she's a fairy. She often causes a bit of mischief while being a fairy, but I'm willing to overlook that. Pat (DH), started reading it to her, but changed the name Alice to Sophia, and changes the parts of the book he didn't want to "encourage" - like the distaste for Broccoli. This is Soph's favorite thing to do now - I think we read that story on average of 5 times a day.

Outside Overthere by Maurice Sendak is definitely one of my least favorite books ever. I recalled while at the library that when I was a little girl I had received it as a gift and my mom read it and swiftly confiscated it. (I couldn't have been more than 5) Well I figured, how bad was this book really.... well - REALLY BAD. In my humble opinion. Something about little goblins stealing away a baby to marry her off just seems absolutely horrid. I am so sorry that I didn't pre-read that one, I usually do that. I was in a rush, there was Sophia-pressure... She was worried for the following 3 days that goblins were going to steal Brenna. NOT GOOD.

well, seeing how I started this post about a month ago, I didn't get much reviewing done, but I may as well post it now. I have a running list of books to write about - my mind and heart are just too heavy right now with the world. Between fires, flooding, and draught - it seems no matter where you look we're in peril - and that's just in the US! That doesn't even look at all the other countries that have it so much worse. *sigh* It makes my heart sad.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Weekly Review

I know this is so long overdue that it's not so much a "week in review" because I meant to post it like 3 days ago. My bad. Well - here is as much as I remember. It seems that unless I have pictures my memory is shot. Gosh having children ages a girl! We acquired a Bumbo seat for Brenna. I had heard such good things about them, and although she can roll over until she's blue in the face and almost crawl, she doesn't like staring at every one's feet. She loves sitting in it now. Sophia is diggin' it too because now they can have tea parties together. Last weekend (not this past weekend... but the one before that - yes this is that overdue) Sophia and I decided to make bubbles at night for the next day. The dish soap was blue, and Sophia wanted purple. So, she added lots and lots of red food coloring. A very dark purple resulted. We also played with her counting/sorting bugs. Here she was doing them while I made breakfast. Later we did them together. Every now and then I would make a mistake - she thought it was hilarious. I realized I never quite give Soph enough credit. Whenever we've done computer games on my laptop I also assumed that she didn't know how to use the mouse since it's different than a normal mouse (that and my mother can't even figure out my laptop mouse when she visits;)) Well I was very wrong, Sophia is a pro at the laptop. She really likes playing Disney Preschool Time online - here she is doing just that. There were a couple mornings last week that were quite cool and not humid and nasty (like it is right now). She's usually not hungry when she first wakes up, and on this day we were lucky enough for Brenna to be napping, so we went out in PJs and all to swing on our new swing set that we got from Freecycle. After I gave her a couple pushes she took over and didn't even need me anymore - I took pictures instead. Puzzles are on of our favorite things as well. We also got these from freecycle from a very nice lady who, after giving us a felt board was so kind as to tell me she was cleaning out duplicates and she would put them out for us to take what we wanted. So nice! The bag was filled with awesome treasures that both Sophia and I appreciated greatly. So many nice people out there!A bit ago Soph picked out a cat costume for Brenna. She decided she should be a witch so while at the dollar store she used a dollar of her allowance to buy a witch costume. Then after getting Halloweena from the library she thought she should read Brenna the story while wearing her witch costume. Brenna seemed to be having a good time. I didn't get to hear the story however. I got to put away laundry (lucky me). I just thought this was too cute. Talk about a flexible - I hope they were tasty. Brenna really is such a good baby. She just hangs out and follows along. She's probably going to be laid back and easy going like her daddy. Sophia is probably going to be off the walks and always busy like me. No wonder we butt heads - we're a bit too much alike.Well that's all I remember. We also went to gymnastics, went grocery shopping, went to the library - same ol' same ol'. Since so many people do book reviews, and I appreciate them so much - I figure I should be so kind as to review the books we read - we read enough of them! I'll only do the good ones though :) Hopefully life will be less hectic and I'll be able to post a bit more soon.