Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Fun

I have some random pictures I have taken over the past few weeks that illustrate some of the things my kids have been up to already this summer. There have been a few minor injuries. Cara tripped and gave herself quite the scab. She was outside playing and didn't even come in to tell me that she was hurt. I didn't even see a single tear. That may be the result of having Caleb as her older brother.

Caleb has gotten very good on two wheels and has even advanced to his "big" two wheel bike. This particular injury happened when he was riding a neighbors bike with miniature wheels. I saw the whole thing, and I am just glad that he walked out of it. I swear I felt the concrete move below my feet as he fell and rolled. You may also notice the remains of a bruise on his cheek. At the time that the picture was taken the bruise was over two weeks old. I never got a straight story out of him about what happened. I wonder if he even knows, but it sure looked bad.

Caleb and Cara have spend almost every sunny moment this summer playing in the circle with the neighbor kids. They have had a great time. I am grateful to the kids who are a few years older for being nice to the little ones. Last week the older kids created an insect museum and the younger ones provided assistance. (They even gave me a free tour. They waved the 2 cent fee, but they still charge Caleb 5 cents for some rocks they had made faces on with our markers which are still missing.) The week before the older kids performed a comedy show and the little ones were the audience. They even had tickets to go to the show. They play games and even coach the little ones. The older kids must have left the less responsible little kids to the sidewalk chalk. At least my little ones decided to chalk their faces. Caleb and Cara love playing outside with the neighbors, and I feel fortunate to live in such a family friendly neighborhood.

I have already blogged about how I love "Summer Group" but here is another example of the projects the kids are doing. On Wednesday they made these cute cars out of boxes and had a parade and then a drive in movie.

Andy even got into the fun, quite literally. He loves to feel like a big kid.

Yesterday the kids played on the slip and slide with the neighbors. Cara came in freezing and got in a nice warm bath. She and Caleb can play in the tub forever, and I feel like they are old enough to be safe on their own. I came out to the computer and realized after about 10 minutes that it was REALLY quiet in the bathroom. Before I even got to my bedroom door I could hear the snoring. She was sound asleep in the tub. She didn't even wake up when I pulled her out and wrapped her up in a towel to finish her nap.

In other news, this happy little baby (9 months old this week) has cut three new teeth over the past four days. I notice one blister on the top, I believe it was Sunday, and yesterday, which was Thursday I took a peek and there were three pearly white upper teeth. The strange thing is that the one he is missing is one of the middle two. Hopefully it will follow shortly or he might start looking like a toothless jack-o-lantern.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Resources and Ideas for Moms

A few months ago at our American Mothers meeting we had the topic of “What’s Working.” I loved hearing the ideas of the other moms and taking some of my own little gems to share. I have been wanting to blog about some of the things that we talked about and hopefully it will be beneficial to some of you. Following are some tools that were mentioned at the meeting that I thought were worth sharing:

The book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Engelmann. When I first saw this book I was reluctant to start it. Caleb is a resistant learner, but when I am consistent he has done awesome with this little reading program. I know a few other moms that have used it and they rave about it too. I don't know anyone that has used it that doesn't have great things to say. Better yet, you can get it on Amazon for about $20.

I have also been teaching Caleb piano from Nancy and Randall Fabers “My First Piano Adventure.” You can learn about the course at I swear it is totally awesome for young beginners. Their other courses for older beginners are good too.

Some other fun ideas that moms at the group mentioned:
“Family Fun Night” on Friday nights in addition to Family Home Evening on Mondays.
Recording the voice of distant grandparents reading bedtime stories.
A “can do” list for weekdays and a different “can do” list for Sundays.
One child at a time has a night up with mom and dad once a week rotating children.
Have a section of your house that is your toy free zone.
Tell your kids something good that they did when you tuck them in and have them tell you their favorite part of the day.

Other Parenting Books I LOVE:

“On Becoming Baby Wise” by Ezzo and Bucknam. I give following the principals taught in this book all of the credit for my happy babies.

“The Power of Positive Parenting” and “Christlike Parenting” both by Glen Latham. (I would highly recommend any of his material.)

“Parenting with Love and Logic” (I don’t take this one to an extreme, but it has some great ideas.)

“The 5 Languages of Love for Children" by Gary D. Chapman

“Siblings Without Rivalry” by Faber and Mazlish

Isn't being a mom a wonderful adventure!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Group

The week after Joy School ended (the neighborhood preschool coop) we started Summer Group. It is basically the same kids as Joy School, but we can’t call it school sense it is summer. It has been heaven sent. The kids get together on Monday and Wednesdays from 10-1 with different host moms. They play, they eat lunch and they do some kind of craft or organized activity. There are two main great things about it for me. First, it motivates me to come up with enriching activities and crafts for the kids when I am in charge. You know, the things you want to do with your kids that you never get around to doing. Second, my kids have a great time doing activities and playing at other peoples houses providing me with a little brake a couple times a week.

A few weeks ago, for my turn, I had my brother Cody come and fly rockets with the kids. It was a hit. Cody also made straw darts with them and paper helicopters.

This week we made sculptures out of play dough on Monday and painted them today. I am really looking forward to next week. We are going to make Fathers Day gifts. They will be rock paperweights. The kids will find the rocks and paint them and I will letter “Dad Rocks” on them. On Wednesday we are going to make Fathers Day cards. I love summer group. I love having the kids, and I love that I only have them six times the entire summer. And I love having my kids go knowing they are doing something enriching. Of course the kids love it too. It is a win, win, win deal all around. I am a huge advocate of the kid coop thing!

Holy Hail . . . Storm and other Spring Happenings

Monday it began to hail like crazy. The hailstones were bigger than I have ever seen before so I risked my life to get a picture just out the front porch.

The cool spring weather has stuck around this year, and honestly I am quite enjoying it. I keep thinking of how much we must be saving on Air Conditioning and Water bills. Unfortunately, Caleb only got to play four of ten soccer games. They were snowed or rained out of three of them (one they played in the poring rain) and he missed three of them while we were on our trip to Mexico. Even though the season was short it was one of the highlights of his life so far. He loved running and sliding, falling and rolling, and he even scored at least once at every game. He was so fun to watch. I am glad I enjoy watching him play ball (even in the rain) because I think I might be doing it for a few years.

He was on a team with his BFF Isaac. Isaac’s dad, Dave, was their coach.

“What a Good Baby!!”

Andy brings a whole new level to being a good baby. I thought Caleb was good until I had Cara and I thought Cara was good until I had Andy. If I keep this pattern up I better keep having babies. Just for example, yesterday I was getting ready to leave instead of laying him down for a nap. I thought, “he can have a car nap.” I rushed through the living room to find him asleep on the floor. Too tired to play he just tipped over and went to sleep without a fuss.

Connie tended him last week and tried to give him the “bad boy” look, but even with a mow hawk he was the best baby around. Always happy, sleeps long and hard, gives the best smiles and hugs and requires so little attention.

He is a cute little bunny.