Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pretend Play . . .as a 2-Year Old

The girls were once again pretending to be gymnasts. I put a line of tape on the floor for Norah and a line for Lucy to be their balance beams. Norah said, "I will be Nastia and Lucy can be Shawn Johnson."

To which Lucy replies, "Yeah, I be Uncle Shawn." (Kevin's brother, for those of you who don't know)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do All Kids Say That?

After reading this and talking to a couple of friends I am beginning to think is must be normal. Today Norah said to me, "You are a mean mommy! A mean, mean mommy!" Let me add that she had just hit Lucy and was sent to her room. So she shouted this as she walked upstairs. She went on to say, "I want a nice mommy, not a mean mommy! And I am NEVER playing with you again!"

As Nicole said, I am sure that this happen a number or times, but it is still not fun to hear your child say.

Now, after some needed alone time in her room, she seems to have gotten over it and decided she does want to play with me after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Little Lu

I thought it was time for a Lucy update. She says so many funny things these days and has such a spunky personality. This may be boring to some - it's mostly for grandparents!

Her sentence structure cracks us up. She often says, "Not me do that.'' Last week one day Lucy said to me, "Not me be nice to you."

When she gets hurt - even if it is very minor - she says everything is broken. If she stubs her toe, Lucy says, "My toe is broken." If she scrapes her knee, she says, "My leg is broken."

During the Olympics the girls were doing gymnastics all day. Norah talked about doing her "floor routine." Lucy kept telling us she was doing her "dance dedidal" - (translated to dance recital).

Lucy also changes her clothes multiple times in the day. After nap she almost always comes out of her room with a different outfit on. If she is in trouble and is in her room, she changes clothes. Now when she changes her clothes she tells me, "This outfit for my dance dedidal."

Lucy spends a significant amount of time each day in time out for hitting, pulling hair, or pushing. After each time out I ask her to tell me why she is in time out. Every time she says "I hit Norah again!" She even says that if Norah was not involved.

For those of you who see Lucy often, know that she almost always has a small ponytail on top of her head. She pulls it out multiple times in a day - it is really annoying to me - but her bangs are long so she needs them out of her face. Anyway, usually a few minutes after pulling out her ponytail, she exclaims, "My hair is CAZY!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Getting My Thoughts Straight

Our official first day of school is going to be Tuesday, Sept. 2. In my mind I thought I had 2 weeks to get finish getting stuff together, then it dawned on me that the 2nd is next Tuesday! We are going to have school on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. The girls go to Mother's Day Out on Mondays and we have Bible study at church on Wednesday mornings.

At this point our morning schedule will look like this:
8:30 Chore Can
9:00 Morning Devotions - this will be when we read a page from here or something topical like these
9:15 Reading Lesson (Lucy will work with a toddler activity bag)
9:45 Science topic and lesson that goes with it for the day (could be math, art, Bible, music, etc.)
10:15 Outside/Free Play

Thursday during Lucy's naptime, Norah and I will have a cooking lesson.

The rest of our day will be normal lunch, nap and playtime, but I will occasionally incorporate some structured activities as needed. Usually from the time the girls wake up until about 5 they play very well together (or separately, but in the same room). Around 5 they are READY for Kevin to come home (which is around 6) and I am usually working on dinner so we often have major FREAK-OUT time! In the laundry room I have a drawer of fun items to pull out if/when this happens - things like bingo dabbers, play-doh, watercolors, markers.

We are going to have family time devotions at dinner time. I bought this so the girls can be coloring a picture when Kevin gets home and as he is reading the scripture that is referenced on their picture. Kevin and I agreed that it is important to read out of an actual Bible to the girls instead of just picture Bibles all the time (which we will still do sometimes at bedtime). We also felt like they need something (a coloring page) to help them picture what Kevin is reading about and I just think Lucy needs something to do while he is reading. Each scripture is only a few verses to a chapter - at the most.

The curriculum that we are using, My Father's World, lists several books that go with each topic so throughout a week, we will read the extra books at various times (naptime, bedtime, times they are extra snuggly).

Obviously we won't always stick to the times exactly, but this will be a guide. I do want some flexibility (since Norah is still just 4 - and not technically in kindergarten) to meet friends at the park so we can always skip the chore can and save our morning devotions for naptime. Then we could be done with school by 9:30 and have plenty of time to play with friends!

After rereading this - it seems like a lot, but I think on a day to day basis it won't seem so bad!! We'll see!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday

Knowing that Norah would ask for Muffin Tin Monday, we headed to the grocery store this morning.

Today the girls had grapes, tomato & mozzerella cheese salad, crackers, ranch (my girls will eat most any vegetable as long as they have ranch), tuna salad, carrots & cucumbers. Neither was a huge fan of the tuna salad, but I expected that.

Rough Night

After sleeping at Savannah's on Saturday night, Norah was EXHAUSTED last night. I went to check on her before I went to bed and this is what she looked like.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

So Norah seems to be feeling a little better - atleast her fever is gone, but she still doesn't have much of an appetite. Since we have been stuck in the house for 2 days, I HAD to get out. Surely we could do couple of quick errands, right? Let me start by saying, Lucy was perfect. You heard me right, my ornery, feisty 2-year old was perfect!
Norah on the other hand - boy, she had an attitude! Usually Lucy is the one pestering Lucy, but today it was the other way around. I kept reminding myself as I looked at the dark circles around her eyes that she is only acting this way because she still doesn't feel great. We ran to Hobby Lobby to look for a few items for the basement. We had some success, but not a lot. I am looking for a cute lamp and clock. I found a clock at Target, but was hoping to find something a little cheaper at Hobby Lobby. Oh, well, I will keep looking.
We ran to Gymboree. I had a 30% off coupon and they are having a big sale. I only bought 2 outfits for Norah with socks and bows to match! Boy ,does it add up!
We ran to the grocery store - Kevin's dad is in town at his brother's and is coming out here for dinner.
Our last stop was Target. I was looking for a small bookshelf. I looked at Michael's and Hobby Lobby for an unfinished one, but didn't see anything I like. I got a white, 3 shelf bookshelf that is similar to the other shelving unit we have.
So after all that (and grabbing lunch) we headed home and the girls could hardly even walk in the house. They were so tired! Hopefully, I won't regret it later, but like I said, I had to get out of the house!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not Feeling so Great

Poor Norah. She has been running a fever since yesterday morning. She doesn't seem to have any other symptoms - just the fever. She seems pretty miserable. Lucy was sick last week, but her fever only lasted about 24 hours. I was hoping Norah's would be short lived as well - we'll see. At one point yesterday, Norah said to me, "I get to watch more TV?" They are used to only watching 1 or 2 half hour shows.
I guess we'll be in all day again today.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Homeschool To Do List

Since this is my first "official" year to homeschool, I sort of feel unorganized and unprepared. I have ideas of what I want to do and how I want to do it, but I haven't put everything together in my head yet. Sprittibee has put together a to-do list and has challenged others to do the same and link to each other's blogs.
Here's my list (I'm sure I will have things to add):
1. Finish redecorating the basement/playroom/homeschool room. Most of the painting is finished - mostly hanging things on the wall.
2. Reorganize school things - most of it is in one cabinet, but we have added a dresser (I know, not your usual piece of furniture for a basement) that we had in storage. It should hold a lot of things: art supplies, math toys/manipulatives, science materials, etc.
3. Put together a generic schedule
4. Decide what to do when we finish My Father's World (we started early because Norah was so excited, so we will be finished with this curriculum by Christmas). With the baby coming in January, I don't want to wait until the last minute to make a decision.
5. Put together some toddler activity boxes for Lucy - to keep her busy when Norah needs some 1-on-1 time with her reading/writing lessons.
6. Plan some field trips
7. Possibly put together a pre-k/kindergarten co-op - maybe P.E. or heath related
8. Make final decision on book for family devotions - I got a couple of great suggestions, I just have to decide

Muffin Tin Monday

I have been wanting to do muffin tin Monday for awhile now - just hadn't done it. Is there anyone left in blogland who hasn't done muffin tin Monday? I first about it here, and she saw it here. Then I saw it here and here.

So now it is our turn.

Starting in the upper left-hand corner: turkey, string cheese, ranch, carrots and cucumbers, blueberries, Club snack sticks.

Norah thought this was quite fun and ate everything except the turkey. She did remind me, though, that when mother's day out starts we will have to have muffin tin Tuesday. Smart girl.

Lucy thought is was fun, but still didn't eat much more than normal - chowed on her cheese, one carrot, a cracker or two, and basically licked the section with ranch. Lucy also emptied out one section so she could put her cup in it instead (my picture of this did not turn out).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Beautiful August Day!

We have had a beautiful week! The mornings feel like May or June mornings!! We decided to take advantage of the great weather and head to the zoo!!! We wanted to get there early (and the girls cooperated by waking up quite early for a Saturday morning) so we left the house by about 7:45. We went straight to the carousel since it is free the first hour of the morning - Norah didn't want to ride for some crazy reason.

We also went to the Insectarium because Norah's theme this week is insects.

I didn't think anyone could be grumpy at the zoo, but both girls were kind of whiny. We took the umbrella stroller so we could go on the train (I know some people park their strollers, but I don't like to do that). This was the first time that we didn't take the stand 'n sit stroller so Norah had to walk the whole time. She kept telling me that we should have brought the other stroller. 5 months from now, she won't have a choice but to walk - she might as well get used to it now.

We saw the baby tigers - so cute and playful!

We also saw the rhino - I seriously don't think we have ever actually seen the rhino out! The girls thought it was quite cool!

We headed home about lunchtime. Norah fell asleep. We ate lunch at Pizza Street - a pizza buffet.

Despite the whiny children, we still had a great time! It was great way to enjoy the day!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Please Pray

If you are a regular reader of this blog or a number of blogs I have linked on mine, then you have probably already read the story of little Noah Lauer. The Lauers are good friends of our friends, the Snyder's and the Mohr's. If you have not read this heartbreaking story about Noah, click here to read it. He is a very sick little boy and needs your prayers. His parents, Josh and Deb, also need your prayers - whether you know them or not. Because of blog-world I know that hundreds of people can "gather" together to lift them up in prayer.

Sadly, we live in a fallen world. We are not promised life without suffering. However, God does promise to give us strength. Isaiah 40:29-31 says, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Please pray that God will give Josh and Deb the strength to face each day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thought for Thursday

Family Devotions
First of all, I'm looking for suggestions. One obvious benefit to homeschooling is that we can devote more time to teaching the girls about Jesus. I have the book Our 24 Family Ways, which looks really good, but way about Lucy's head for sure. It would be okay for Norah and because of the amount of scripture, we could definitely repeat it in years to come. I also just read about The Narrow Way. This also looks good, but some of the application questions seem a little advanced. I also wondered about God's Little Princess Devotional Bible. We have Playtime Devotions, but we have been through this book a couple of time and Norah is really to old for it. There are tons of family devotionals out there, but not a lot that are appropriate for 2 & 4 year olds.
Does anyone have any other suggestions for me to look into?

Also, I am trying to plan somewhat of a routine or schedule which I think will be beneficial to all of us, especially me. Obviously, we probably won't always follow the specific times, but the general routine will stay the same. Anyway, I am trying to decide when to fit in our family devotion time. We have tried to do it in the morning before Kevin goes to work, but Norah often sleeps until 8. The days we have to be out the door early, we often forget devotions and then they never get done. Should I wake her around 7:30 so we can do them before Kevin leaves or not? I have read several homeschool blogs about daily schedules and most of them fit their family devotions in after breakfast and chores (9ish). This leaves Kevin out and I don't know how I feel about it that.
What works for you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Contessa is 1!

It is hard for us to believe but my sweet little niece is 1! We went to Morton for her birthday party and we had a great time!!
Max & Denise invited family and some friends to the party. We all had a great time - especially the kids. Norah and Lucy loved being with their cousins!
Norah helped my mom make fruit pizza - actually Norah decorated one all by herself. She did a great job and was sure to tell my mom, "Mine looks more beautiful than yours." Ha ha!

Denise's parents are in town from Chile. We love seeing them when they are in the U.S. Here is a picture of my mom, Contessa, and Lilliana (Denise's mom).

The kids all enjoyed the pinata - but they needed a little help breaking it open. Uncle Rick broke it open, but it broke open under the tree in the landscaping rocks. The kids dug around gathering as much candy and toys as they could. Funny thing is that the next day Norah and Ryan were still finding candy.

We had a great weekend! The girls and I stayed until yesterday, then my mom came home with us until today. I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon - it was kind of nice going by myself. Also, I am EXHAUSTED so it was nice having her hang out with us today!

A Couple of Pics

I have a lot to blog about from our weekend in Morton, but I'm tired so here are a couple pics of Lucy.

Lucy struggled with sleeping while in Morton. Here she is FINALLY napping - with her legs crossed.

I'm sure Grandpa Steve won't like this picture, but we thought it was funny! On the way home Lucy was trying to be funny and kept sticking her fingers up her nose . . .and singing songs.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Today's Favorite Activity

Play-doh is the activity of choice this afternoon. Norah and I made playdoh around 3:15 and Lucy has been playing with it ever since - it is 4:30! I don't think she has ever done anything that long!! I don't think she has even eaten hardly any!! Yea!
We have had an interesting week in that Lucy has been kind of sick. She has a horrible cold and a nasty cough. We were going to head to Morton yesterday and Kevin was going to ride the train up on Friday evening. Amtrak prices have gone up and he didn't think it was worth it to pay $40 for a 3 hour train ride. So we are all going up tomorrow (My niece's first birthday party is Saturday). It is probably best since Lucy hasn't felt good. I took her to the doctor today for fear that she was wheezing. She isn't, thankully, and actually has seemed quite a bit better since her nap this afternoon. Last night was the worst - she was grumpy, her nose was constantly running, nasty coughing spells - just plain miserable. It probably seemed worse, too, because Kevin worked until about 9 last night.
Ooh, I think I will have to throw Lucy's half of the play-doh away. She has sneezed way too many times right into her play-doh. Gross!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Back!

Remember our little visitor? Well, he's back. Kevin saw him Sunday afternoon and Norah spotted him yesterday morning. I also saw a mole or something - I'm assuming that is why the hawk is here. If it was a mole that I saw, I'm rooting for the hawk. Get that mole before it destroys our backyard.

An Early Day

So it's 7:15 and I'm blogging already!! Lucy has been up for over an hour. Now I realize some kids just get up in the 6 o'clock hour, but not at this house. We cherish our sleep and have always encourage the girls to atleast stay in bed until 7. Norah rarely gets up before 7 and often sleeps until 8. While Lucy was in the crib, she would sleep until 7:30 or so. Since she has been in her "big girl" bed, she has been getting up earlier and earlier!!
Here they are, first thing this morning. Can they sit any closer? Atleast they are happy . . .for now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Octopus in Review

Last week's letter was 'O' so Norah learned about ocean and octopus. Some of our favorite books include, Swimmy, Gentle Giant Octopus, Commotion in the Ocean, A Swim Through the Sea, A House for Hermit Crab, and Baby Beluga.
Norah made a hand octopus. I traced her palm and 4 fingers on one hand and then her 4 fingers on the other hand. Norah painted it with watercolors and after it dried, we wrote something she had learned about octopus on each tentacle. She was able to come up with 8 facts with little prompting.

Kevin and Norah went to Petsmart yesterday and looked some of the fish. When they got home, Norah drew a picture of her 3 favorite fish.

We also talked about where the largest octopus live (Pacific Ocean) and Norah identified the Pacific Ocean on a map.

We looked online at a variety of picture of ocean life. We looked at the video of an octopus feeding here.

Dinosaurs in Review

Each week - no matter what the topic - we have a "reading plan" which includes things like learning new letter sounds (Norah knows all her letter sounds, so we move quickly through this part), separating objects based on beginning sounds, letter bingo, letter memory, identifying blends, matching 3 or 4 letter words to pictures, etc.

For 'd' week we learned about dinosaurs. We read quite a few books about dinosaurs including What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs. Norah and I both LOVED this book - as a Christian, I would HIGHLY recommend it if your kiddos ever wonder why we don't see dinosaurs anymore. It is written by creation scientists and is totally Biblical. We also read some cute fiction books like Dazzle the Dinosaur and Danny and the Dinosaur.

Some of our favorite activities of the week included:

1. Pretending to be paleontologists, only we dug for chocolate chips instead of dinosaur bones. Norah work very hard and was able to gently pull out 5 or 6 chocolate chips out of her cookies.

2. We made fossils. Obviously, it is not totally scientific because we saw our outcome immediately - not over time, but this activity helped Norah to understand what a fossil is and how scientists might find a fossil and have to figure out what it came from. My picture of this did not turn out, but we used model magic. We roll them into balls and then pressed different objects into them. The girls chose items like necklaces, spiky ball, little people, money, etc.

3. We dug for dinosaurs in the sand.

4. For Lucy we sorted dinosaur cards that I had made with stickers and construction paper.

5. Norah picked 3 dinosaurs out of one of our books and we did a little research online to find out a little more about each one.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Piggy Bank

This morning we took the girls to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. At one point I had to take Lucy to the bathroom. While we were gone, the waitress brought the check and this was the conversation between Kevin and Norah:

Kevin: Are you going to pay today?

Norah: No

Kevin: Well, you spent all my money yesterday (Norah and I went shopping). I think you should pay.

Norah: I didn't bring my piggy bank.

Kevin: Why not?

Norah: 'Cause that would be silly.

Later on in the day the girls and I went shoe shopping with my sister. She works at the home office and gets a decent discount on shoes and Norah and I needed shoes (I really mean need - my white sandals that I wear ALL the time are literally falling apart. I was basically ordered by Kevin to get new shoes. Okay, twist my arm).
As we were walking out of the house, Kevin says, "Norah, don't spend too much money."

Norah responds with, "I'm not the one who spends all the money - it's mommy who spends all your money."