Sunday, January 31, 2010

Car Wash!

Today, it was time for a car wash...well that was after we decided to paint with them. AJ loves his cars, so, I thought it would be fun to paint with them. I sent him up at his little picnic table with a plate of paint a few cars and a piece of paper. He got the hang of painting tracks really quickly! I thought he would dive into the paint as he always does, but surprisingly he didn't. What he did do is try to bring every car he owns into the paint. So, he didn't really paint long...instead I decided on a car wash instead.

While he finished painting, I found the big black cauldron from Halloween and filled it with about an inch of water and a bit of soap. He had a blast! Way more fun than painting. We played in the water for probably 20 minutes. He brought every car we had to be washed. Since it was a bit chilly in the house and we were on the cold tile floor, I decided to move him to the bathtub. He played in the bathtub for another 15-20 minutes. I swear he would have played in there all day if I let him. A bath tub and cars...what more could a boy ask for?

Much to his dismay, it was time to take a nap. When I finally got him dressed, he grabbed his cars and off he went! He went down with no protest at all! This was a huge hit! We will definitely do this again!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Collecting the Kid!

Yesterday, we went on a tour of our local fire station with my mom's group. I thought AJ would love this since he loves all things truck! He is the kid that runs to the window screaming "dump truck" twice a week when the garbage truck goes by and then insists on signing "more...more...more" when he can't see it any longer! So, we packed ourselves and off we went (along with my sanity)!

The moment we got there I could see what type of day it was going to be. AJ didn't want to hold my hand, he would drop to the floor like a limp fish. Then, when I tried to pick him up, he would just kick his legs trying to climb out of my arms...GREAT! As I try to contain my nut case, I look out to the sea of 20 or so other moms and kids who are all standing so nicely next to their siblings and parents holding hands...and then there is me! All I can do is shake my head, try not to drop (or drag) my child and say a quick prayer because I can already tell how this is going to turn out!

Ever have those days that you plan to do something and just based on the way your kids gets out of the car makes you want to put them right back in just to avoid the frustration! Sometimes based on AJ's behavior just trying to get out of the door at home informs me of what type of trip we are going to know the times the little person in the back of your mind says..."hey, you know right where this is going..don't do it...turn back now! You are going to regret it!" You know the one! But, being the good mommy you are, you push on determine to put on a smile and make it the best dayever. Then, about half way through, as the kids is melting down, running away,and hiding from you...oh did I mention you are in a complete sweat, swearing to yourself...You pledge to NEVER do it again! Yep, it was one of those days.

So, I grit my teeth and hope this is just a little bump in the road. Oh how quickly I would ditch this notion. Enter....THE DOUGHNUT! As soon as we got inside, they served the kids doughnuts! Yep...SUGAR DOUGHNUTS! Have these people LOST THEIR MINDS!!! Breathe! That is all I can say and AJ starts to whine insisting he have a "coo coo". OK...can you see the defeat already!

Now, that AJ is all sugared up, they bring the kids into the Firehouse living room to watch a little Elmo video about what to do when you find hot stuff. Sounds great except, while (again) all the other kids are picture perfect..sitting on their parent's laps laughing and responding to the video, AJ is running around the room...albeit quietly...between the chairs. I keep smiling, hoping the other moms can't see the sweat that is now running down my faceor hear the grinding of my teeth as I attempt to catch him!

Ugg! What's next! We move on out to the fire trucks! Yippey! This should be better, AJ can move around, get up in the trucks, touch the Boy stuff! Right! WRONG! Uhh...No!

Again, sit down and just watch...well again that is everyone but AJ! These kids are sub-human! How can they just sit there ever so pleasantly while my kid is running away, rolling on the ground, etc... At this point, I can see my car and I so desperately want to make a bee line for it...yet, I stay to be polite. I have no idea what I am doing at this point, just gritting my teeth praying for this dreaded tour to end. We cordially accept a plastic fire hat and thank the firefighters for their tour. Although I brought my camera and everyone is taking their kids picture with their firhats on next to the firetruck...mine is steal the other kids hats and making a beeline for the road! Needless to say, I couldn't telaport fast enough to our car. Frustrated, a bit embarrassed and definitely worn out...all I can do is give AJ a hug and take him to his father (who is working) just so I can have a few minutes off while I try to compose myself again!

The sick thing about this whole scenario is...I will do it again and again...some sort of sick masochistic behavior all moms do! I will continue to work with AJ on his bad days praying (and knowing) it won't be like this every time! Hump! I need a nap!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

B is for Busy, Booty, and Blocks!

Today was a super day. We stayed really busy! We started off the day with one of AJ's favorite things...puzzles. We have been working on the ABC puzzle and he is doing great at naming many of the items on the puzzle. The only issue I have with the puzzle (for good and bad) is that all the pieces fit together whether they should or not!

After breakfast, we had to run up to the store, so we decided to stop by the Salvation Army while we were out! What a trip! We haven't been in quite a long while, but they had tons of great stuff! Check out my booty...

I got all this awesome stuff for $10. A huge bag of cloth letters, blocks (Jenga), a box of books from Spot, an ALL About Me book, a brand new Baby Einsteins DVD about animals, a CD with kids/toddler songs and a box of sight words (this if for later). I was super excited about my stash and can't wait to go back again! I mean who wouldn't be excited about a bunch of educational stuff for little to nothing!

AJ was asleep by the time we got home, so after a nap and lunch he dug right in to see what we bought. The first thing he found were the blocks. He quickly dumped them on the floor and insisted we build. We started by each building our own structures so that he could knock them down. Then, he decided he wanted to line them all up. I asked him to line up all the yellow blocks. He did that for a bit and then switched to another color. This naturally grew into building a pattern. After all the blocks were lined up, he rolled Thomas over them and screamed out the color.

This kept him entertained for several minutes until he decided he wanted wider tracks. He took a section of the track and moved them so there were two rows. He had a minor meltdown when some of the blocks fell out of position. It is amazing to watch him play. He is so particular about how and where things go. He gets frustrated easily, usually has a mini-meltdown and then fixes them. He is so his father...but unlike his father...AJ LOVES to help clean up!

After clean up, he found one of the Thomas books from the library. This was the first time we rented Thomas books mostly due to my innate fear that he would destroy them. He has been really good with them though. He loves to comb through the books and identify all the trains. It has really helped with his colors as well. He can name most of the trains by name (or at least his attempt by name). AJ can identify the train by its color, but still struggles to say some of the colors...that will come with time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Arts and Crafts...Wax Paper Art

Yesterday, we decided to play outside a lot. We had a great time playing trucks and digging dirt. We played trains under the umbrella, took a stroller ride in the backyard. Then, we played catch with the fallen fruit before we cleaned it all up. After a nap and lunch it started to get a bit chilly out, so, we had to come inside.

I loved the idea of the Wax Paper Art from the Toddler Busy Book. So, we got right too it. I pullout 2 sheets of waxed paper, a small bowl, glue, food coloring and a sponge. I mixed 1-2 drops of coloring into the glue. By this time, AJ was trying to climb up my leg to see what I was doing.

Once he was seated at his table (and had his paint cover on), I gave him 1 piece of wax paper to paint on.

He loved painting on the wax paper. It was the first time he didn't paint himself. Once, he had a nice area covered with glue. I gave him some felt squares to put in his picture. My original plan was to go find some more leaves and determine what AJ remember from our walk the other day, but since the temperature had fallen that plan went out the window...hence the felt squares.

Once he had finished with the squares, I put the second piece of wax paper on top of the gluey one. When it finally dried, I cut it out in a shape and hung it in out window. AJ wasn't done painting though, so, I let him put the left over glue and felt squares on a piece of computer paper. It made a nice little present for grandma.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Toddler Busy Book

I recently came across a blog that recommended this book, The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. So, I ordered it from the library and patiently waited for the book to come in.

Going to the library with AJ is always an experience. He is just venturing into the "twos". So, we usually have just enough time to run in and grab a new kids movie before AJ starts. He isn't bad, per say. He just doesn't understand inside voices...ok well, he does but he has a hard time using them. Thus, usually about the time we stroll through the front door and around the corner to the kids area, he spies the Spongebob stuffed doll and the excited screaming starts... "Spongebob...Mama...Spongebob..Look!"

Next, off he runs to the movies and books to correct their order. When we try to proceed to the checkout, AJ cordially informs the librarian that she is not moving fast enough and that to check out the movies he is currently holding she must pry it out of his Kung Fu grip. Yet, every time she makes a move he screams... ""

Now, this being a small library his banter with the librarian echoes through the whole place. I can feels the patrons beedy little eyes glaring at me as I attempt to gain control. I give the James DVD I brought, a car, a redirect...a bust! At the same time, the librarian works frantically to check us out before we have the whole place in an uproar!

I do this to myself and the poor librarians on a weekly basis. For the most part, I order all our books and movies in advance, so, AJ has a small window of time. We talk about what is expected prior to entering and I give him a bit of time to roam and play before we leave, but...every time the ending is the same. Some days are better than others.

I was excited when this book came in and couldn't wait to get it home. When i first opened the book, I was immediately disappointed. It was one of those books with page after page of ideas, no real rhyme or reason to the collections. Just a plethora of me this is overwhelming. This means I can't flip through, I have to actually sit down and comb through each page to see what activities are usable. I much prefer books organized by what the activity is teaching. For example, to work on colors, try these activities. Yet, after having the book for about a week, I locked myself in the bathroom to comb through the book.

Why the bathroom you ask? It is the only place I can lock myself away where I can have complete peace and quiet. Sad, but a reality for many moms. Once I got into the book, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are just a handful of ideas I found:

1. Clothespin poke: Flip an egg carton over, so the egg holders are facing up. Cut a quarter size whole in each egg. Then, have your toddler try to put the clothes pin in the wholes.

2. Balloon Play: Attach a paper plate to a paint stir stick, the blow up a balloon and throw it in the air and have your toddler try to catch it. Or, more likely, encourage your toddler to bat the balloon around.

3. Colored Ice cubes: Fill and freeze colored water in the ice cube trays. Add the cubes to bathtub and play away. (this can also be done with jello)

4. Wax Paper Art: Mix glue and dye (I recom. temper paint instead), then let your toddler paint it onto a piece of wax paper. Then, put another piece of wax paper on top. Allow to dry then hang your wax paper art in a window!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bean, Beans, Beans...

The musical fruit...that's what they say right! Well, let me tell you when you have a toddler who is currently obsessed with beans...the musical fruits sounds a bit different. It sounds do I explain it! "Oh (explicative)!" as the basket containing hundreds of dried beans hit the floor and after the ten thousandth "oh No!" from AJ...I ask myself quietly again...why do you continue to do this to yourself! This is how I started off my morning and it was one of THOSE days!

You know those days where you strap on the seat belt and pull it extra tight, say a quick Hail Mary and pray you make it through the day! Yep. One of those day! After the 10,000 bean pick up...I had to take a call! Now, this was one of those calls I had to have it kind of quiet I actually needed to hear what the person on the other end was saying. yeah, so, I snuck around the corner and peeked my head out to keep an eye on AJ. Well, he decided he was going to sneak around a corner and hide from me. I quickly learned why! Syrup! Yep, you know the wet, gooey, sticky, messy type! My son had somehow gotten it off the shelf of the pantry doing a moment of toddler acrobatics and decided it was his new beverage of choice. But, it didn't stop there...Oh NO! Remember the seat belt...can you feel it tightening yet!

Yeah, the syrup was a beverage, a doggie shampoo, a body scrub and a new version of Pine Sol... Nice! Is there really any more to say!?! So, this happened all in a matter of seconds, err a minute...I swear...Max!

Why oh Why me! I hadn't even downed the first cup of coffee yet! It was one of those know those days...guess I was due!

Let's go Green!

We finished up our Green Day yesterday! AJ and I took a walk around the neighborhood to see what we could find. He is so independent now...he doesn't want to hold my hand which makes me really nervous! We don't live on a busy road, but the moment I try to hold his hand ne goes limp! So, we worked on walking on the sidewalk. He gets easily distracted and wants to explore everyone's yard and porches. So, we really focused at first on simply staying on the sidewalk. I thought he had it down and then we started up a driveway to a neighbors "sidewalk" to their front door. I called out to AJ..."sidewalk please"...he promptly responded..."mama, side-wah" and took off! Uggh!

Ironically, our neighbor was just coming out of their house as AJ rolled up...Aj stopped dead in his tracks and bolted back to me. He is a bit shy around men as of late. So we had a quick discussion about the difference between a sidewalk and a driveway. And, by discussion I mean, mommy hopped back and forth between the sidewalk and the driveway while AJ screamed out what it was.

I think our neighbor knows I am a bit nuts, so quietly observed just shaking his head. AJ, of course, had to try it on his own,so, he started trying to jump back and forth naming the location...basically it was more of a big crouch down, but no lift off. When he tired of this we continued on our walk. Maybe this time we will make it more than a house away!

We got to the corner of our street and I asked AJ if he saw a tree. When he pointed to one (a bush to be precise), I asked him if he could find a leaf. So we spent sometime looking at the leaves and talking about the colors before we plucked one off. Aj was not a fan of me putting the leaf in his bucket. He stated freaking out...While holding his hand up to tell me to stop, he continued to tell me.." no weef (leaf) mama!" So I held on the leaf and slipped it in while he wasn't looking.

As a caveat, in case I haven't explained the bucket yet...Here it is...

Yes, I know. I use the term bucket loosely. Ever since Halloween, we have not been able to get rid of this "bucket". We now actually have 3 of them and Aj is so clever that he notices right away when one is first tried to eliminate the "bucket" and gve him an actual mini bucket instead. Yet, Aj would not stand for it. So, anytime we leave the house AJ frantically packs all trains into his "bucket" and off we go! So, if you ever come across a strange woman carrying around a Halloween bucket in the middle of July, you will know it is me! :)

Anyway, enough about the bucket! We walked around the block and collected several leaves. We talked about the sky (and its color), the sun, clouds, cars/trucks...we even saw a blimp which AJ politely waved too, and a dump truck. Aj was super excited by the dump truck but quickly covered his ears as it drove by because it was so loud. After we got home and had lunch we explored our treasures.

AJ had a blast gluing them down. To my dismay he was covered in glue...along with his shirt, the table, oh yeah, and the dog! Don't even ask! But, he had fun and inevitable accomplished his mission! If you figure out a neat way for an almost 2 y.o to glue I would love to know! I thought about a glue stick, but it would not have accomplished the job!

So, while that dried, AJ went down for a nap! When he got up, it was time for crayon rubbings. He selected a green crayon from his crayon container and started coloring. It took a bit of practice and a lot of assistance before he understood what he was supposed to do...but he got it and it was a great success!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

G is for Giggly Green

Things have been going really well, but extremely busy. We have done a lot of fun activities lately. I am really working on getting these posts together. I never realized how much work having a blog was...between getting prepared for the activities, taking pictures, getting the post written and then getting the pictures onto the takes a lot of time, especially considering I am ALWAYS online for work! I have found getting the pictures has been the most frustrating part because for some reason my silly IE won't open the picture box.... so, I pound away and wait...and count sheep...and pray...and every once in a while it pops open. I have started using a different browser, so this time consuming waiting game ends! So, enough about me, on to AJ...

Green was the color of the day. AJ is still struggling to say the names of the colors. He understands how to sort them, but everything that is dark colored he calls blue. So, we have really been working on that!

We started off the day with our colorful green breakfast. I started with green eggs because I had the book Green Eggs and Ham. Now, ever since having AJ, eggs and I have not been good friends. So, the moment that food coloring entered those little baby eggs, the gagging began. I know it is so silly, but I started to turning green at the thought of what I was doing. I kept trying to tell myself...It is just coloring. What is the big deal? Needless to say is was not a combination that was going to make it to the pan, let alone the table. I am not even sure why I was so ambivalent about it because AJ has never eaten eggs before! So, I went back to the basics...a waffle, apples and applesauce. To dress up the applesauce I mixed in about 1 1/2T of Odwalla's Superfood's Juice. I really wanted to puree some Spinach, but it was frozen and this being my 2nd attempt at breakfast, time was of the essence. I added a dot of coloring because the juice did add to much. AJ was pleased, I could tell if he like what I served more or the fact that it was on the table!

After breakfast, AJ started to get giggly! We recently moved one of the couches under the window and AJ is a totally fan of the move. His new hobby is to stand on the couch and play with his trains in the window sill. Yet, while I was cleaning up breakfast, he decided he would play in the curtains...something I frown upon, but he was so cute I had to snap a few shots!

Then, we moved on to our green theme. I pulled out Green Eggs and Ham to start our day off. We read it together and he enjoyed pointing out all of the colors. He got so excited that as soon as I turned the page he started pointing and screaming...much to my ears dismay! Once we finished, I asked him to go find something green and low and behold he insisted on the green lego box. So, we worked together to pull out all of the green legos (we talked about light and dark because there are 2 tones of green legos in our set). Then, while Ante built a new Green train I pulled out yesterdays yellow train. He had a great time with the legos until it because to smash them on the floor!

As we cleaned up, I asked Aj to bring me all the block in a specific color. So , we started with green and then blue because those are the colors he is most confident with. He was able to collect each of those with no trouble at all. Then, we worked on red and yellow. He still refuses to name those. Then, mommy had to finish cleaning up the other colors because that was the end of AJ's attention span. He moved on to his trains and blocks.

It was interesting to watch him with the blocks because it was the first time we was able to unzip the blocks on his own. That took a lot of concentration and tugging to get it open. Yet, once it was open, he wasn't so much interested in stacking the blocks at first. He stopped to examine each block as he removed it. He would get really excited when he saw something he knew and would scream..."Mama, mama, hand..." We went through each block and he named what he knew and I named what he didn't! I was amazed at the amount of items he could name! On some he couldn't remember the name of the animal he would make the sound. It made for one proud mama!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yeah for Yellow...Day 1

Today was a bit hectic, so, we did not get as much done as I had hoped, but there is always tomorrow. I did a lot of work on the phones today, so, AJ had several projects to work on.

As always we started our day with a yellow breakfast. AJ actually ate oatmeal today...yeah! I made steal cut oatmeal with cherries and mango puree with bananas on the side. AJ was not interested in the bananas, but he ate all the oatmeal, which was a real surprise. We talked about the yellow mango, but again I was not lucky enough to get him to eat any.

After breakfast, we read Yellow by Sarah Schuette. AJ had a great time finding all of the yellow objects on the pages and then had a great time finding yellow things around the house...his yellow rain boots were the first prize. He proudly waddled around the house searching for other yellow things. (sorry, no picture of this due to potty training)

The search quickly became derailed when he found the yellow legos. Once identified, it became time to build. So, I let him build while I made a few calls. At first, he built with only the yellow legos we had identified (so I saved the yellow car) Yet, the quiet didn't last long...he quickly found the lego box and soon all I heard every few seconds was..."Oh No Mama, James Bwoke.!James Bwoke!" James is his lego train that never seems to stay together. After about the 10th time, I have to admit I am really tempted to write a letter to Lego to complain about this, but instead I fix James and send AJ on his way, secretly praying he will find something else to consume his energy.

Post Legos, we played with the shape sorter. AJ has gotten really good at putting the shapes in the correct place. He seems to look at the shape and then look at the shapes on the sorter to pick which he will try, then, he twists and turns the shape until he gets it in. We worked on naming the shapes, which at this point means I named them as he placed them in the sorter. He did slow down long enough for me to ask him for specific shapes. Aj, please give me the blue square or the yellow circle. He got those right every time, but struggled with the red heart and green triangle. It help when I tied to color red to James and green to Percy(from Thomas the Tank Engine). When I asked for the purple star, he had no idea. So, I asked him for each colored shape until the only shape left was the star. By this time, I could see his mind starting to wonder, so, we moved on...

Day 2: Did you know Yellow is for Fruit?

Today was a playdate with a dear friend and her 16 mo old daughter. I have decided not to post pictures from the playdate because I do not want to post pictures of her daughter without her permission, so, here is a break down of our playdate.

While the babies played, we talked about life and I surprised her with banana bread. She is about 6 mos preggo and has a everlasting craving for my banana bread. So, she was head over heals that I had remembered. We go the kids to the table and they helped mix the ingredients. Aj and I talked about bananas...color, shape, texture, temperature (hot/cold). The kids loved mashing up the bananas. AJ used the masher and Babydoll dug right in with her fingers (after a washing of coarse) Then, I put Mrs. K in charge of helping her Babydoll make the heart shaped muffins, while AJ and I made a surprise loaf for her with her favorite streussel topping.

While the muffins were baking, I pulled out the yellow lemons. Time to talk about those. Babydoll was very excited to explore them. We felt the bumpy texture and compared the sizes of them. Then, I showed the babies how to roll the lemons. Mrs. K put her feet up for a bit and watched the action unfold. She knows I am a nut and loves to just see what I have come up with this time. She thought I was nuts when I pulled out a bunch of empty plastic juice bottles and encouraged the kids to throw lemons at them! But, every had a grand time. The babies rolled the lemons as best the could towards bottles. AJ was a sweetheart...he does love the ladies. He went and picked up the lemons and handed one to babydoll so she could keep playing. And, when babydoll lost her footing and fell, he helped her up and gave her a big hug and a kiss! It was priceless. By this time, our muffins were done, so everyone munched was ready to try out creations! (AJ even ate one which was stunning! Is my picky eater actually starting to try new things!?!)

The kids played for quite a bit together AJ even let Babydoll try out his radio flyer trike, but she was more interested in his crazy coupe. So, Mrs. K and I made pizza dough for lunch. Babydoll was not interested in getting out of the car to put the pizza topping on, but AJ volunteered. He threw the cheese on the pizza, the pan, the counter, and even a bit on the floor! :) What's new! At least he had fun!

Everyone chowed down and then it was obvious it was nap time. So, Mrs. K and Babydoll packed up to leave. AJ Was not happy at all and started to have a meltdown.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

B is for Blueberries

Sorry, for the late post. I kept telling myself all weekend that I was going to get this post done, but I worked on other things. So, I decided to just sit down and get it done.

Friday we worked on the color blue. AJ picked it up really quickly. I think he really likes blue, no so into red. We started out our morning with breakfast. I make blue tinted french toast with blueberry yogurt and fresh blueberries. AJ was dazzled and scarfed it all down!

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After breakfast we read Blueberries for Sal. AJ had a lot of fun with all of the pictures and pointing out all of the blue things in the pictures. So, with an excited little boy on my hands, I pulled out his bucket of blue! The moment AJ spotted the bucket he saw his blue choo choos and freaked! The bucket went flying, choo choos went flying...he could care less about anything else. This was just the start of our day!

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AJ decided that it was time to play choo choos. While I cleaned up breakfast he played at his train table. Then, I went to join him. He loves when we play together. At this point we are working on sharing! Everything is "MINE"! Today, he actually let me play with him and allowed me to play with one of his trains. It was awesome, we play together for about 20 minutes.

Since this went so well, I thought we would try some sorting. I pulled out the plastic red, blue and white poker chips and set out the bowls. AJ thought this meant it was dumping time. I tried to no avail to help him identify the colors and sort them. He decided it was more fun to fill up each bowl and then dump it into an empty one. He tired of this quickly and it took work to get him to slow down and pick up.

Moving on. Let's bake. For the holidays, my mom gave me a package of supplies from the Amish Health food store from up North. I was excited to break this package open and find a blueberry muffin mix. I am not much for mixes, I prefer to make everything from scratch. Yet, my supply of fresh blueberries was low, so, Amish mix, here I come.

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I did the measuring and AJ did the pouring and mixing. He had a blast. He even filled the muffin cups on his own. Yet, he was not done. He wanted to do more scooping and pouring. So, I added extra water to the tiny bit of mix left in the bowl and had him stir it while I took out a red heart shaped mold. He had a blast filling each and every heart before dumping it back into the bowl and starting over. Much to his dismay it was time to clean up for lunch. Small fit aside, he really enjoyed his blueberry muffin. I was shocked mister picky even tried it. Then, it was off for a nap.
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Finally time for me to get some work done. Yet, when AJ awoke he was not done with school. As soon as he got up he kept asking for "bees". "mama, bees pwease." What in the world? So we walked around the house trying to solve the mystery...Ahh...Beans! He spent the next 30 minutes scooping his beans while mama got some work done. I finally had to put the beans away when I started finding thim in his trains and on the train table. All and all "B for Blue" day was a success.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm seeing RED!

I decided on the first theme I will begin working on with AJ. People. When kids start kindergarten the first theme they learn about is Social studies is Family. So, I will build off that and develop several activities related to people and families. I just need a bit of time to put a few of the activities together. So, in the meantime, I decided to start with colors.

This weeks color: Red

We started with a red breakfast, of which I forgot to take pictures. Shucks! We had red juice (mixed with water), red pancakes, red (strawberry) yogurt, and red strawberries. I talked about the color and shape of the food AJ was eating and had him say red and attempt to say circle.

Then, we painted A, B, C letters with red paint. We will be using thiese again for a later project, so, stay tuned for next week.

Later we sorted magnetic blue and red letters. First, we worked to identify the colors. Aj knows blue, but struggled a bit to say red. Then, I asked him to put all the red one up and the blue ones down. We did a few together and then he did a bunch on his own. He did a great job, but in the end he decided to throw them all on the ground. So, I asked him to pick all the red magnets and put them on the fridge. That worked for a few seconds, but then he was off to the next thing! I was excited though when he showed daddy how he could sort later that night. He still struggled to say red, but we will keep working.

We will work on sorting again tomorrow, but we will focus on blue. The nice thing about red and blue are the and blue playing cards, red and blue plastic poker chips, legos, ect... So, tomorrow will will work on sorting cards.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolved to change

2010 ~ Calls for new Resolutions!

I think there are always things you can do to improve on your life. I find it ironic that so many wait until a new year to express their wishes for change...yet, come the following year very few changes have been made (for a menagerie of reasons). I love talking to my girlfriends just after a new year to hear their resolutions. Every year, they swear anew to make the same age-old changes. I swear one year I am going to make a montage of their resolutions and then the following year, just play it for them. I swear it would save them time.

Me, on the other hand, I don't really have resolutions. I have goals, but they are on going. I think it is never the wrong time to re-evaluate your life, your relationship, etc...Initially it makes sense that people would re-evaluate their lives at the start of a new year, but...the NUMBER 1 resolution is to lose weight. Gym membership sales skyrocket and by March...attendance is back to normal!

So this year, I will be making some them what you will. This year is a bit different than last year. First we are closing out a very rough 2009. One that thoroughly disrupted our lives, yet, we came back from the brink and we are stronger for it. My Mother in law was recently given a terminal diagnosis with 6-12 months to live. This has been and will be extremely devastating to our family.

So, here is what I am thinking:

1. Help hubbie figure out what path he wants to take...or should I say...just support him as he figure out life.

2. Have another baby... well, this was the original plan. We were thinking around May, so we could have another March baby, but those plans might be thwarted depending on number 1.

3. Feel better about my body...I refuse to be the cliche that says I want to lose weight. I don't to per say lose weight, but more I want to be happy in my own skin. I will never have my pre-preggo body back. Things have just shifted and stretched! So, instead of wishing and hoping I am going to be proud of how far I have come since baby number 1. I mean I have lost all the preggo weight, but still not in shape. My tummy is squishy and I don't foresee a 6 pack ever in my life. That doesn't mean I should feel good about the body I have...

4. Find new and exciting ways to teach my son. I have come up with a general outline for what and how I will introduce things, so, stay tuned for these new ideas.

5. Find new homemade alternatives for our family. We are overtly conscious about the food we eat. We are those obnoxious people you see in the grocery store reading the labels on our food. I would guess 80% of the food we eat is organic. No matter what the food, it it has tons of preservatives or ingredients we cannot read, we will not purchase it. So, I there is not a lot of prepackaged foods in our home. This year, I am working on snacks. I am looking for homemade alternatives to prepackages snacks. I will share them as I find them!

6. Lastly (for now), I will continue to mainstream our expenses. It has gotten so expensive just to survive in the world today and although it looks like we will be back to a two income family again soon that doesn't mean our spending should adjust. I am still focused on lowering our cost of living to increase our retirement savings and decrease (and hopefully eliminate our debt). We have not contributed to our retirement fund since our son was born (wow, almost 2 years). So, my goal this year is to get that going again (now that we can afford it again) and to continue to pay off our outstanding debt. I want to be in the best financial position possible so if my hubbie wants to go back to school and/or baby #2 comes along we are able to roll with the punches.

So, that is it...those are my overall goals for this year. Things to adapt, change and transition. They will be in a state of constant flux, but we will see how it goes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

What is the point...

I find it ironic to not know where to begin. So, I guess I will start at the very beginning. I grew up an a some-what normal home. Both my parents worked many long hours, so, I was usually the first one at Kindercare and the last to leave. I can remember many times my father arriving late and waiting outside on the curb for him. I went straight from Kindercare to before and after school care. I was the quintessential Latchkey kid.

I grew up to be a teacher... I guess not all that ironic since I have spent so many years of my life there. After teaching several different grades at 2 different schools, I settled in to teaching 3rd grade. I do truly love this grade. I just always hated all the constrictions on what and how I could teach. It seemed the longer I taught the more incompetent the school system made me feel.

I always felt it was best to teach each student on their own level. Let those who are soaring fly on to more challenging content. Those who are hitting seed bumps along the way, i would provide the ramp to help move past them. Yet, I found the school system didn't feel this was the correct way to handle students. Instead I was to teach to the middle, clipping the wings of my eagles and making the speed bumps impassable for my coasters. This just seemed so counter intuitive... Then came baby!

Once I had my son, I decided to give up my elementary school teaching career and find something new. I wasn't sure what yet. I start to dream about his education..what would be right for him...would he be an eagle or a coaster? within 6 months, I was introduced to online education. I was offered a job with an online teaching school and set to begin teaching 7th grade Science.

I have been teaching in this new forum for just over a year. It has been an interesting ride. This being my first real insight into home school, my views are mixed. I have seen many really successful homeschooling families...and many not so successful. I have seen some that have struggled to introduce an online curriculum in a their traditional home schooling arena. Others who have fully integrated and have excelled due to this option. So, yet again...I wonder! What will be right for my son.

On one hand, I am a certified teacher and parent. Who knows my son and his future learning styles better? Who is better qualified to teach him? Yet, then I slam right into the present day. I have a rambunctious almost 2 year old boy who rarely stops moving. He loves to get into things...he love to touch and experience obviously I want to encourage and extend this...but how? Where do I start?

I feel unprepared. I feel incompetent as a teacher. I have absolutely no experience with teaching kids younger than 3rd grade. Where do I begin? So, thus the adventure has begin... I have no idea where it will lead me or how I will get there. Yet, I know my son and I are in it together...whether he knows it or not!