Friday, September 27, 2013

Hazel's Last month of her 0s!

It's really a shame we are too young to remember any of our zeroth year...  Zero is such a mathematically important number :)

Hazel is finally 11 months, as of Tuesday!  She is such a joy, and turning out to be such a curious little explorer.  It is clear she can tell that her siblings are capable of more than she and that they don't always get to eat the same foods (which drives her crazy).  After a couple of failed attempts at getting her to use a sippy cup at 6 or 7 months, I realized just last week, that she still wasn't using one, and so I pulled one out and she took right to it!  You can tell she gets a real sense of satisfaction getting to drink all by herself.  (I was helping her use cups in the past)  It's so cute.  My favorite is if her cup gets left on the floor and she crawls over it for a quick sip.  I can tell she's going to enjoy more independence as she gets older, which is probably an essential quality for mom in a #3.  We all just love her to bits!  Every night during family prayer, we go around and everyone says one thing they are grateful for (to include in the prayer) and most of the time at one or both of her siblings will say they are grateful for Hazel :)

She prefers to feed herself and often rejects being spoon fed- so forcefully that she will grab the spoon and chuck it to the ground.
gripping a garden pear that she devoured while I cooked dinner
I have a lot of people say that she decidedly looks like The Frog or definitely like Peach.  What do you think?

Hazel at 11 mo
The Frog at 11 mo
Peach at 11 mo
funny-face phone pic
 She's for sure more adventurous than the first two.  She often will go upstairs all by herself, to explore. in the dark.  Her siblings rarely attempted that unless someone else was up there already.  She loves to splash in the little puddle of water that doesn't drain right in the shower and has been caught with the toilet brush more than once.  (yuck!) however, she is my first baby to stop what she was doing when I said, "no, no, no!"  It's truly amazing and I hope it's not just a phase...
Her siblings love to be where she is and when she wakes up from her nap, they run up there really fast and climb in her crib with her until I get there to pull her out.  She can already wave "hi" and even says "ah" with it in such a way that kind of sounds like she's saying "hi"!  I've recently started brushing her teeth when her siblings brush theirs (she does have 8 teeth now, after all...) and she loves it!

I love to get her into giggle fits by tickling her armpits or following her hand with mine at the pack 'n play she still sleeps in (in my closet!)

Oh, if all babies could be like you, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  (and that's saying a lot...)

We love you to bits, Hazel!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homeschooling- earliest math and money

So, Jay really, really, really wants to homeschool our kids, because he wishes he could have been homeschooled.  I admit, I can see how much better one-on-one attention would be, how much time must wasted by busy-work when one teacher must teach 30 kids at different levels, how public schools must be run for efficiency, not necessarily for maximal learning, etc. etc.  BUT, I still have some reservations about some of the social things, worries about parent/child clash, and wonderings if I could even pull it off better than people who have been doing it for 30 years.  'Cause anyone who knows me knows that I **heart** school.  Seriously!  If I had my way, I would just live on a college campus and take classes the rest of my life.  I just love to learn!  BUT, looking back, I could have probably learned a lot more had I been given one-on-one (or even one-on-3) attention.  However, I am to this day, a pretty awkward person, and without school, I would not know my 2 dearest friends from HS (Hi Linds! Hi Mel!) who know me in a way nobody else ever could, because they were with me through thick and thin since, yes, 7TH GRADE.  And to me, that is invaluable.

BUT, perhaps if I were homeschooled, I would have had more time for social endeavors, and would have tried to make them count more.  Once I hit 7th grade, I did have to pare down on my extracurriculars due to time constraints.  I was sad to let the Salt Lake Children's Choir go.  It would have been fun to keep up on basketball.  I was sad to stop soccer after the next year.  And I could have sought out other unique activities that I just plain didn't have time for with everything else...

So, ANYWAY, I'm willing to give it a shot.  For now, we are happy to have our kids attend BYU preschool and kindergarten- two affordable and excellent programs that do give the kids individual attention with a student:teacher ratio of 4:1.  Meanwhile, Jay and I want to set-up shop and start a routine so we can lay a foundation for later when it really matters more.

I've been really interested in alternative methods for learning math and I've been intrigued by these Cuisenaire Rods.  You can read more about them here.  I really stumbled upon them on when I was looking for some game pieces to use to make a sort of Sequence game for learning letters.  And then I saw these Interlocking Centimeter Cubes and I thought they could probably work for both!

So, I got them and I had no idea how excited the kids (especially The Frog) would be about playing with them.
We've made faces and flowers and even little scenes with them.  But they've also worked great as homemade cuisenaire rods.  (They aren't in the "official" color order here, because I thought rainbow order would be easier to remember.  BUT, I could easily change that :D)

I thought it would be a good idea to get some kind of book to guide me with them at first, and decided upon this one: Miquon Math, Level 1.  Some of the reviews said they thought Lab Sheet Annotations and Mathematics for the Primary Teacher and First-Grade Diary were essential companions, but I'm planning to just check out the first book before I commit.  (Also, since math is kinda my "thing" maybe I won't need answers, explanations, etc?)  I got it, and yes, it has no instruction whatsoever, but I think I get the gyst.
do you recognize this scene?
I actually haven't used them much with The Frog yet because I want to finish up what we've started already (just some addition flash cards we have, using fingers or drawn dots to figure them out) and also because he's been doing subtraction that results in negative numbers already too, and I haven't figured out a great way of doing that with the rods yet.  BUT, I whipped it out with Peach and she had fun doing the first couple of pages (which was just counting) and was especially excited to use "the pink ones".  (an added benefit of using these blocks instead of the rods)
using our rods to show coin values
I think I had my first big win, though, when I used them to talk about money with The Frog.  I've tried to explain coin values to him before, but I just don't have enough pennies lying around to get the point across, and it's also tedious and hard to move them around fast enough when they're all separate.  I think doing this really helped him understand and he keeps asking if we can learn about money again.  Yay!!  I'll report again later when I've experimented a bit more.

I've thought about starting a separate homeschooling blog where I can keep track of what we did, what went well, what didn't, so I'll have a good place to reference for the "next round".

Any clever title ideas?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Frog & Peach's First Day of Preschool!

I can't believe I still haven't posted the "First Day of Preschool" Pics.  This is The Frog's 3rd week of BYU preschool, and Peach just started a little neighbor co-op on Monday.  It's so funny to me that even though they are 2 years apart, they will only be 1 year apart in preschool, since their Peach's birthday happen to be right before the cutoff, and The Frog's is right after.

I forgot to get a picture of Peach on her real first day (I mentioned it, but she opposed and we were running late, so I forgot) so this one will have to do.  The Frog never wants to take his backpack to school, because he's already filled it with "treasures" and doesn't want to have to empty it.

 I can't believe she's big enough for preschool too!  Time sure flies!
 And this year, the first day of school, for The Frog, happened to be on his birthday!!  So we sent a little somethin'-somethin' for his class:
Some of the leftovers from his birthday party - either a frog, lizard, or snake, a balloon, and a sucker.  Look how trendy I am, finally using those chevron bags and washi tape I got cheap at Pick Your Plum I've been dying to use :)  (Be careful if you sign up.  Pick Your Plum will make you want all kinds of cute things you never knew you needed...)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kid Conversation

Last night, for Family Home Evening, I taught the kids a fun way to remember the 10 commandments.  We were talking about not taking the Lord's name in vain and I kind of extended it to saying we shouldn't say swears and so, naturally, this intrigued The Frog...

The Frog: wait, so, like what?
me: I'm not going to say.  I don't like saying those words.
The Frog: [cupping his hands around his mouth and whispering] like poop?

ohhh the innocence of childhood...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Phone Pics...

I'm not sure what happened... last week just came and went!  I had some posts I was meaning put up, but I still haven't uploaded my camera photos and it's late (I'm scheduling this post for tomorrow morning), and I'd like to go to bed, but I was talking on the phone late to Jay (who is in Boston now, and was gone all last week) and my battery was dying, so I plugged my phone into my computer and it uploaded photos from my phone.  

I thought I'd do a quick recap...
 a cute shot of The Frog who fell asleep with his legs hanging off the sofa while reading this book.  Must have been a real page-turner...
 I made these stickers for these flashlights that we gave to our YW for girls' camp.  The theme was "Stand".
 I don't remember where this was...  probably just out for one of our walks in the neighborhood, but I thought Hazel looked so cute and relaxed, lounging all skeewampus with her leg hanging over the edge like that.  Maybe you had to be there...
 This was me trying to capture our fun Family Home Evening lesson where we had a pizza dinner on the Provo Temple grounds and talked about temples.  (which our kids, and we, really loved!)  I have a feeling the kodak moment was gone by the time I pulled out my phone.  (the older kids loved running to the fountain and back while they ate)
 Went for another one of our neighborhood walks one day and this was going on.  Apparently, there are some places that don't have sprinklers and they get irrigation water or something.  I can't believe that this happens once a week only a couple of blocks from our house and I had no idea after living here for 5 years!!
 A bunch of neighborhood kids were already there playing in it.  This is Peach trying to hide the fact that she wet her pants...
I'm starting to notice a pattern... perhaps The Frog's feet enjoy the freeing sensation of falling while he sleeps?
 One day, Hazel just woke up from her nap really early and we were having leftovers for dinner that night, so I thought it would be fun to just spontaneously go on a quick "hike" (this is paved and very short) to Bridal Veil Falls, which is super close to our house and stroller (and bike) friendly.
 It ended up being such a fun little excursion!
 Peach likes to make sure her baby is strapped into her carseat properly.  She will not allow us to leave unless the arms and legs are coming out in the right places.
 This is the kids playing on the playground at The Frog's new preschool (at BYU) on "getting-to-know-you" day where he met his teacher, class pets, and familiarized himself with the classroom.  They have tons of these awesome tricycles there!
We were invited to go have dinner at one of Jay's colleague's homes after The Frog's birthday party, when we were completely DRENCHED in rain!  This is me trying to take a picture in the Costco parking lot (after getting gas) of the people sloshing through water almost to their KNEES!  Thank goodness this didn't happen during his party!
 This was a random silly pic I took on my phone to text Jay and make him wish he was home with cute us, instead of at a boring CS conference in St. Louis. ;)
 I actually tried combing The Frog's hair before church, just for fun (I usually just try to keep it so short I don't have to bother with it...) and I thought he'd make a super-cute Dennis the Mennace :)  His hair doesn't enjoy being parted, though, and it went back to scraggly and moppish soon thereafter.
 Peach wanted me to take a picture of her too, after taking one of The Frog
But everyone kept moving and I couldn't get a good one.

And that's it!  The spur-of-the-moment events that have happened since I last uploaded photos from my phone (July).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Liberty Park!

After two other failed attempts at getting together with Natalie & fam while she was in town, we finally got together on Saturday, the day before they left.  I tried to meet up with them at the Tracy Aviary, but by the time Hazel woke from her morning nap, they were already done.  We decided to go on the rides just outside, and then head over to the miniature creeks splashing area.

Cousins L & C were brave enough to try the high swings!

The water place was awesome!  The kids had so much fun!  Probably more fun than the $2 rides... Unfortunately, I got ZERO pictures :(  And I also learned it's a good idea to keep extra clothes in the car whenever going far from home.  I will definitely plan on stopping by there the next time we go to the Aviary.  I ran to Smith's and we ate a little picnic in the shade.  So fun!  We miss playing with our Mass cousins!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kid Conversation

I bought The Frog his next size up clothes a couple of weeks ago and he convinced me to let him wear them before school starts.  One of them is a red T-shirt (he picked out sitting next to me looking at that has a slice of pizza instead of a heart and it says "I [pizza pic] pizza".  It's his new favorite shirt...

The night before The Frog's birthday, after I tucked him in bed, he stopped me with one final question:

The Frog: Mom?
Me: yes?
The Frog: Will my pizza t-shirt still fit me when I'm 5?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Frog!!

I can't believe it, but The Frog is turning 5 today!!  We celebrated with friends on Saturday with his first friend birthday party!

I was quite worried about how to entertain all those kids for so long, but really, they mostly just entertained themselves.  I had wanted to get a new slip 'n slide and little squirt guns for everyone, and thought I would be able to find them on clearance, but I couldn't find them anywhere!  I guess the beginning of September is too late in the season.  So we had to use our old slip 'n slide with duct tape and a brick on one side to stop the water from flowing out a giant hole and preventing the side spray...
 they didn't seem to mind!

I'd say the biggest hit was the giant water balloons- we just filled regular water balloons part way and they were really hard to pop.  The kids had a lot of fun throwing, stomping and splashing with them!  

We set up an obstacle course for them, but they all did it once and were done.  Probably it would have been better if it were some kind of competition, but I quickly found that we didn't have enough people to make games like "duck, duck, splash" very fun.  I also thought it would be fun to put balloons on the trampoline but they got popped (on purpose) within 1 minute of people jumping around.  maybe at a girl party they'd last longer?
 we had pizza for lunch - everybody's favorite and so easy...
say "cheese pizza!"
 When I asked The Frog about what kind of cake he wanted he said, "blue cake, red frosting, and a white spider web".  It was hard for me to give in to a request like that because I'm kind of an anti-food coloring snob...  one bottle of red food coloring later:
 he seemed to like it :)
 I think it looks super creepy...
 Of course, The Frog loved opening his presents and I loved that he wanted to try everything out right away.  He was very excited about it all this year :)

When we got balloons at Zurchers, I let The Frog pick out one thing to give to his friends as a thank you- he picked out a big package of frogs, lizards and snakes.  We gave everyone one of each of those, a tootsie pop, and some other fun things I already had (I'm a cheapskate I know...) a balloon, a fun straw, and some left over nerd glasses from my party.  I hate letting my kids have candy, so I thought other moms might appreciate less of that as well...
This morning we're having waffles for breakfast (he's known he wanted that since Peach's birthday) and tonight, The Frog has requested to have dinner at "Old McDonald's" because he loves the play place.  The things we do for our kids...

Happy birthday little man!  You're not so little anymore *sob*