Friday, October 25, 2013

Hazel Turned 1?!!

How did that happen?  For me, things have been so different with baby #3.  Every baby moment has been cherished and mourned, mourned because it lasts only a short time...  There is no doubt that this first year has felt faster than the first year of my first two.

She has done this on other occasions, but never so adamantly- the morning of her 1st birthday, she very pointedly refused to let me feed her oatmeal.  Not because she suddenly decided she doesn't enjoy it, but rather because she somehow knew this day was a milestone and she should now be old enough to rise above my services.  So, after my 5th or 6th struggle to remove the now slimy spoon from her monkey grip, I relented and started plopping it into what I hoped would be manageable heaps on her tray.  After I had finished eating, I could tell she finally realized that oatmeal is a bit of a challenge, when eaten sans spoon, and so I thought I would give it another try with the spoon.  Alas, she was not ready to give in so easily and took the spoon from me.  Luckily, we have a near infinite supply and I grabbed another.  She confiscated that with her free, slimy hand.  Seeing my opportunity, I have it one final shot, and she let me scoop the goop into her mouth.

How could I forget the "3rd-spoon's-the-charm" trick?

I'm feeling a bit guilty, it's obvious that the 3rd child is already getting less of a special treatment...  in iPhoto, I have smart photos of my favorite photos of the kids for each year.  The Frog has 326 photos, Peach has 243 and Hazel has 161.  The Frog had a massive pile of gifts for his 1st birthday, and I gave Hazel a couple of books (one of which hasn't arrived yet..) and 2 pairs of shoes.  I will say, though, The Frog only got a banana bread muffin w/ cream cheese frosting for his birthday (he had no sugar at ALL until his first birthday!) Whereas, I gave Hazel an extra big smash cake so we wouldn't be forced into eating cake all week.  (I feel like I still haven't recovered from our 3 birthdays in a row about a month ago.)

The cake, however was kind of pathetic.  I've decided to try and get rid of some of the boxed cakes I have around, and thought I'd do the cake mix+sour cream+instant pudding one (have you seen that? Makes the cake so moist!) but then when I went to the pantry, I sadly discovered that I only had pistachio pudding (for my St. Patrick's day cake...).  Well, I used it and it was kinda weird to have a green cake with chocolate frosting...

But I hope she knows we love her so much and are so grateful for the little ball of sunshine that she is!  I can't go anywhere without people commenting about how cute she is and getting a smile from her.

hasn't figured out blowing.  never fear, the siblings took care of it!

almost forgot to get a pic with our 1st birthday hat!
 We stripped her down before dessert, but she totally didn't need it!  She looked really quite clean afterward.
 And my mom thought we might even be able to salvage some of her cake!  (i didn't though... ew.)
 At first, we Hazel had absolutely no interest in her gifts, until her siblings started unwrapping them for her.  She caught on pretty quickly after that (and it was hard to get the siblings to stop "helping").
 I was really surprised by all the fighting that ensued over playing with baby toys...  I think I may start doing presents before dinner in the future.  Maybe at breakfast?  Just sometime not so close to bedtime.
Happy birthday Hazel!!  We sure love you!

PS THANK YOU for finally sleeping all night- your first night as a 1-year old!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beginning Reading Games for the Car

I don't know about you, BUT driving around in the car can be SUCH a chore (especially when you have 3 carseats in the back of a Honda Civic, i.e. they can all whack touch each other...)  Lately, since we've been "trail-run-homeschooling", and I've been thinking a lot about how to teach kids to read, I've been trying out some car "games" to help our reading practice.  Probably most people already do stuff like this, but maaaybe there's a first-time mom out there that might find these useful.

Traditional Alphabet Game
I'm sure there isn't a person out there that doesn't know what this is... but JUST in case, all you do is try to find all the letters of the alphabet starting with letter A and making your way to Z.  Jay always plays it so that the letter can be anywhere in a word, but if you like more of a challenge, it can be fun to only allow it to be the first letter of a word.  I find this is a great way for kids to practice thinking about the letter order w/out singing the song every time, and it also just helps with seeing signs as something other than an unrecognizable foreign language.

Alphabet Game for Beginners
This is better for kids who are just learning their letters.  You can instead try to have them only point out every A they can see.  (You could even specify "Big A" or "little a").  Then you can move on to other letters as you see fit.  You could even, instead, help them get used to finding letters in their own name first.

Say It Fast
This is a game that helps for when kids start sounding out words themselves.  Something I've noticed with The Frog is he will sound out the whole word "caaaaaaaaataaaaaaaaapuuuuuuuuulllllllllllt" and get to the end, having no idea what he just said.  SO, this game is intended to help them get used to hearing a word said really slowly, and then registering what word it is.  For example, I would say,
"Mmmmmmaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn.  Say it fast!" and the kids would yell, "MAN!"
"sssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.  Say It Fast!"
etc.  Obviously, you would start with short words (and maybe even try to think of words that might be encountered with the earliest reading) and once they get good, you can do long ones. (Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?)

You could also do themed words, like if you've been talking about ancient Egypt, do words like, "pyramid", "mummification", "Nile", etc.

The Rhyming Game
This is also great for kids because if they can recognize rhyming words, then when they have already read something like "hike", it will be easier to recognize "bike" later.  So, basically, you pick any word and get them to say things that rhyme with it.  I usually throw some out as well.  It's amazing how much car-time you can pass with this.

Sound it Out
This one, I admittedly haven't tried yet, but I just thought of it and I'd like to see how it goes.  Probably The Frog is the only one knowledgable enough for this one, but probably Peach would get the hang of it after listening to him do it.
It's a bit like the opposite of "Say It Fast".  The idea is to just pick a word, and then say it slowly together and try to figure out which letters are making all the sounds.
I do an exercise like this with The Frog everyday as part of out "trial-run-homeschooling"- we pick any old sentence (yesterday's was, "I have pen on my face.", because The Frog, unknowingly, did have pen on his face, and I thought it was funny :D) and try to sound out all the words.  The Frog will do his best to write them down on his own and then I'll go over it with him and write it all down correctly after.  Then we each circle our favorite letters (the ones that are written the best.) to help him pay more attention to his handwriting. So, anyway, I thought maybe we could try doing it all mentally in the car too!  We'll see :)

What are your favorite ways to pass the time in the car?

PS you don't have to be in the car to play these games.  in case that was unclear... :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shoes for Hazel

Hazel is nearing her 1st birthday, and with my older two kids, that was when I got them their first shoes.  Peach had an awesome pair of sneakers her nanny bought her, and I was excited to whip those little babies out for Hazel.  However, I was surprised to discover that they were gigantic on her!!  Peach is super hard to find shoes for because her feet are so narrow, and I just assumed her sister would benefit from the scouring we did for Peach, but turns out, though Hazel feels to me to be bigger in all other ways, her feet are much tinier.
I ended up getting these cutsie fake converses from old navy for really cheap.  They're really more like slippers (they're a bit fuzzy inside) which is really what I was going for, since she isn't really walking yet and I'll probably have to carry her around once she finally does, because it will be snowy, etc.
I tried to get a picture of her trying them on for the first time, but Peach was sort of stealing the stage.
She does seem to keep them on pretty well (for this first week she's been wearing them...)
Peach used to cheese it up whenever the camera came out, but lately, it's all crazy faces.
And I don't know where she learned this concept, but every so often, I'll catch her practicing her splits...  Maybe I'll get a ballerina in the family!! #yesplease!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kid Conversation

If "potty words" offend you, you may want to skip this one...  but I can't fault Peach because at our house, it's okay to use them when you're in the bathroom and she was, in fact, using the toilet during this conversation.

Actually, I was really excited because this is the first time Peach told us she needed to go #2 after putting on her diaper for the night (normally, she'll just go and then when I check on her before bed, her room smells and I have to wake her up and change her diaper...).  Milestone! :D

So, Peach is on the toilet, talking and talking and talking and she lets out a really really loud fart.  I tried my hardest to contain myself, but she was cracking up like crazy and I couldn't help but laugh with her.

me: I just want you to know that I'm laughing because you're laughing.  It's ok to fart on the toilet- that's the best place to do it!
Peach: or in your diaper.
           or on your blankie.

I will never look at her blankie the same way again...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Peach's Preschool - B Week day 2

Oddly, we only ended up having Peach and 1 other girl on Wednesday...

During our initial playtime (which was a bit longer than usual because so few people were there and I was kind of waiting to see if anyone else was coming...) we had Blocks, Babies, and a doctor kit out because the focus of our day was to be about Bodies.

During "Circle Time" we:
 started out by reading The Human Body: A First Discovery Book, a really awesome beginning illustration of our body parts I happened to find at a used book store. I love the clear pages with all the organs/systems printed on them so you can really see all the layers inside our bodies. I also love the numbers so that when your child points to some obscure body part and asks what it's called, you can act like you are "in the know". :) Then we read I Can Move, a great children's book (I think we inherited?) about bones. Finally, we very briefly flipped through Hear Your Heart, because I didn't anticipate how long the kids would want to spend on the first book.  I gave everyone a toilet paper tube to try listening to each others hearts through.
Then we sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" and "Do As I'm Doing" and took turns being the person we all followed.

Snack Time:
  Nothing special- pears and animal crackers.  I was planning a no carb snack, but since that girl was sick, I thought I'd take advantage and do something easier.

Physical Activity:
  We all had a Balloon and we tried keeping them up in the air using different Body parts.  And then we practiced throwing and catching with them.

  I gave everyone a skeleton on a piece of paper and bowls of pasta and we glued on the pasta to look like a skeleton.  If I were more clever, I would have thought of something that starts with Bs, like beads or something...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Karen's Visit!!

These past few posts are so out of order.  which bothers me.  because I like chronology.  (and alphabetization.)  
But I'm trying not to let my need to be organized, get in the way of getting things done.  Being organized is supposed to help, right.
Obviously, I only mention this because I am bothered.

Anyway, last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting my besty from college!!  Karen!!!  We were so meant to meet up.  I can't believe how much we have in common (nerdy, mathy, ballet-loving... we even both have curly hair!), and she was a great influence on me in so many ways (I doubt I would have thought to study abroad without her putting the thought into my mind, and we got to live in Hungary together!).  Anyway, she has made the move to CA and now resides in the Googleverse there, which means it's convenient enough for her to make a quick weekend getaway to visit ME in Utah, without needing time off work!  It was so fun to see her!! (and maybe I'll sneak away next time :D)

As seems to be the custom lately, I got ZERO pictures of our shenanigans, but she took plenty of phone pics (and so did my kids...) and she was kind enough to share.  Here are a couple of my favs:
Despite having no kids of her own, she is better with kids than I am.  (Which, I guess, isn't saying much.... perhaps it would be better not to compare and just say, she is great with kids!) So much so that on Sunday night when we were putting Peach to bed, she told Karen that they could share a bed that night if she wanted to.  When Karen told her that she had to go home that night, Peach said she wanted a hug before she left and gave her a little kiss too!!  It was the cutest ever!
We had to make rolls while Karen was here.  (So I could show her what I've been "studying" since leaving school.  'Cause we are both nerdy that way and love to study.)  This is Peach making hers into a "puppy".
We did go out to dinner at a cool place on Saturday night - The Black Sheep Cafe, but mostly, we just lazed around while Karen was here.  We probably spent more time in our PJs than was proper, but we're just that close. :)

Thanks for coming Karen!!!  Next time, we can chill in the peace and quiet, by your pool and take a ballet class! :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kid Conversation

I can't remember exactly what happened, as it's been over a week or so...  But I was helping The Frog with his homeschooling and he did something incorrectly.

The Frog: [with frustration] Man! How come you're always right?!
Me: I'm not always right...  But I've had a lot more time to practice because I'm older.
The Frog:  I can't wait until I turn 6 because then I'll know everything and I won't have to study anymore...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Peach's Preschool - B week

Wow! I guess Jay being out of town for 2 WEEKS really played a toll on how much I was able to get done.  I just haven't been able to make time for fun things like blogging.  I haven't been taking pictures of anything either!!

I have started doing a preschool co-op with 3 other moms in the neighborhood and this week is my first week taking my turn.  As you may have guessed, I would over-plan and needlessly stress out over having a good lesson plan.   I'm going to keep track of what I did, mostly for my own records.

We're talking about the letter B, the color purple, triangles, and the number 1 this week.  Yesterday we talked about Bugs and Birds:
-I had a bag full of B objects and they took turns pulling them out one-by-one.  (probably I had too many in there... Everyone got to pull out 3 or 4)
-We read The Very Lonely Firefly board book by Eric Carl and Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (and I also had a stack of 5 others, just in case...).
-We sung "itsy bitsy spider" and the "baby bumble bee" song (I don't even know it's official name...)
-We looked for bugs outside together
-We "danced" (i.e. ran around like mad) to the Flight of the Bumblebee song, and they liked that so much, I picked something else by Beethoven to pretend to be Butterflies or Ballerinas to.
-Our snacks are quite limited because one of the girls is diabetic, so it must have <1g and="" carbs.="" e="" egg="" eggs="" fun="" had="" hard-boiled="" kids="" my="" nbsp="" p="" peeling="" slicer.="" the="" them="" using="">-We made little "hand butterflies" and decorated them with triangles I tried to get the kids to cut out.  (not a great idea...)  Next time I'll have strips already cut out and show them how to make triangles with small snips.  I had originally planned to make these little toilet paper tube owls, but when I woke up early to cut out the fabric scrap pieces, I discovered that someone had used my fabric shears for something other than fabric and had totally ruined them.  (there were all these little nicks along the blade), so I did the butterflies as last-minute backup.  I also had prepared these cute firefly jars, but I knew they would be SO fast, that I didn't start off with them.  However, we ran out of time.
-I also printed off a worksheet for them to trace through an easy path and color some B things on the back while they waited for moms to come get them.

We're talking about bodies tomorrow, and more about 1s.

Anyone have a good method to make gluing things for 3-year-olds easier/less messy?