Mama said there’d be days like this…….

May 13, 2009

And when they start out like this you can find me hiding with the laptop and coffee. The kids have been thrown unceremoniously outside. Sometimes I worry what the neighbors think because invariably my children start to whine after a few minutes and I basically ignore them. Do other kids do this? What is not fun about playing outside?

We have been taking a building class this semester. Yesterday, was a cumulative project of sorts where there were to build a city out of recyclables. Here is Alex’s:

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It is not a city though. It is a Water and Electricity Plant. Here is a part of the conversation we had (I was helping out in the class):

Alex: “The water goes from here to here and then out through a tube here”

Me: “Would you like to add the tube ?”

A: “No, it is invisible.”

I got that ‘invisible’ line for every addition or detail I suggested. LOL. Gotta love it. It reminded me of that book where the kid draws an invisible sailboat during class or something and the teacher is not impressed. LOL

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Reading

May 11, 2009

I was going to try to count up how long Alex reads independently, I read to him, and he reads to me today. I lost count but suffice it to say it is a ridiculous amount.

He usually wanders off at some point in the morning and reads for a half hour or so. He reads in the car, when I am putting Ian down for a nap, and usually in late afternoon he picks up yet another book. I read to him first thing, during meal and snack times (not dinner), bath, and while Ian is asleep. He reads to me daily but it is not for all that long. I may increase it some. I try to read to Ian alone also and he will wander over to listen to those stories.

I sort of panicked today when I started thinking that at some point I will be reading to Ian to ‘teach’ him not just enjoyment. At some point we will study prehistory for example and how in the world am I going to fit that in!? Alex will have his own course of study and because of their age difference I doubt it will be all that similar……thankfully that is a long time away and I am sure it will work out. Makes you wonder how people who have lots of children manage.

I have been thinking a lot about next year, what classes and sports to take. It is hard to find the balance between too much and not enough.

Writing

May 10, 2009

I have been reading The Read Aloud Handbook (which is really good btw). He states that he finds it interesting that parents are afraid to “force” children to read for fear they will grow up hating it. Interestingly enough we have no problem “forcing” children to brush their teeth and , as he points out, it isn’t as though once they move out they quit doing it. I do not have this problem with Alex with reading. But I do with writing and that is *exactly* how I was thinking. He would say “I hate writing” and I would back off for a bit. So over the weekend we all got new journals and I explained that writing is an important skill and the only way to get better at it is to jump in there and start practicing. Today was our first day. He drew a great picture of the life cycle of a frog and, after some encouraging, wrote a sentence. Yep we have tadpoles! There are hundreds upon hundreds at Woodstock Park if anyone is interested. When he was done writing he said, “That was fun.” LOL. Incidentally, the author of said book changed his terms from ‘forcing’ children to read to ‘requiring’ it of them. I am thinking we will wait a few weeks and then choose one story that he has written, proofread, correct, adn copy it over neatly. What we will be do with that, I have no idea….

Alex and I spent the afternoon giggling over Calvin and Hobbes. I forgot that I bought the book weeks ago. It is hilarious! He is so into comic books, I was thinking he might get a kick out of it. Another really good book about a child who fools around quite a bit is A Near Thing for Captain Najork. The first sentence is something like “Tom was fooling around with his chemistry set one day and invented a jam powered frog.” Watching Alex learn, it is amazing to me how much time is wasted in school. I feel lucky to be so involved in the process.

May 9, 2009

Wow. It has been a while. I know it is lame, but I keep falling asleep! When I put Ian to bed, I am out. LOL. Days are so busy. I am going to really have to sit down and decide which activities are worthwhile and which ccan be put off for a while.

So what have we been up to? I have been impressed with Alex’s experiments. He decides what he wants to do, puts it in action, and follows up. He has been doing a lot with freezing things. We are working on our math still and nearly done with the first book. We have done a lot more in art. Here are some nature prints we did:

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I got the idea from The Artful Parent. Ian and Alex had a nice time making them. I was amazed at their detail!

He started carrying around a sketch book for a few days. He was drawing everything! He stopped now though. His inspiration began with the eagles at Botanical so perhaps we will watch them again. It is fun to watch them!

Math Challenge

March 26, 2009

We got a new Math book- Primary Grade Challenge Math and let me tell you that thing is hard. Alex is really enjoying it! He told me today he loved it because it was challenging. It really makes me wonder if I need to change our math program or skip ahead. At first, he needed me to walk him through the problems but today he figured out many with minimal interference from me. I have been working on keeping my mouth shut and letting him think. He told me last week I did not give him enough time to think. Quite honestly, he was right (***bag over head*****)

We are only doing level one for now; those are hard enough. An example of today’s problem: If apples cost $4 for each pound how much does $1 worth of apples weigh?

He figured it out by figuring a half a pound is $2 and half of that is $1 so it is a quarter of a pound. It was kind of cool because while he was thinking, I was trying to figure out how to draw it and that was not the way I was thinking. I am also pleased because in order to solve the problems he is writing and drawing.

We have been swimming a lot. There is something endearing about watching him flail around in the water. And Ian! He is also loving the pool. He is too cute to watch!

Book reviews

March 24, 2009

Jullie of the wolves– I remembered it as an adventure story and part one is just that. Part 2 started to explain what led her to running away and thankfully I got curious and looked up the chapter summaries. Put on the list for later reading!!!! *sigh* Now I need a book on tape. Recommendations?

Deconstructing Penguins: The authors say that “books are like puzzles” and it is up to us (the readers) to figure out what the author is trying to say. They go through the steps to help you figure it out. I actually had a brief discussion with Alex about Mr. Popper’s Penguins which went okay. We talked about the setting, protagonist, antagonist, climax, and themes. I am excited to look into parent/child book clubs!

Building Class

March 24, 2009

Alex started a new class this semester called Architecture and Building. The teacher came and found me today because she wanted to make sure that Alex was enjoying the class and was feeling good about what he was doing. Last week she felt like he left feeling sad and discouraged because his project fell apart. She was worried since he seems frustrated and was thinking some of it has to do with him being a little more quiet than the other children. He does not shout out for help when his project isn’t going as it should. She brought extra supplies so he could play around with building the project at home. I just thought that was so sweet and I was happy that Alex has teachers that care. No wonder he loves the class.

A Day in the Life

March 8, 2009

6:00 Wake up and watch TV. We watched 2 Magic School Bus episodes. It is a lot I know. Sometimes I am better about turning it off after 1. I usually have to have at least one show as I need some time to inject caffeine into my system.

7:00 Play for a bit (legos for Alex, trains for Ian, cleaning for me, out the door for Daddy) then breakfast and chores. Alex had a tough morning in that there was a lot of crying, not wanting to get dressed or play the piano, etc. He finished his whittling project and was quite proud.

9:00 Outside–When I finally looked at what he was doing I was bemused. He was moving blocks of ice from one side of the yard to another. Why? I don’t know…..why do people run marathons? Whatever the reason, it was what he needed because he came in after an hour in a much better mood. He played nicely with his brother-weighing different objects and then catapulting them across the room and asked for a snack which he got himself.
10:00 Snack—Sometimes on Thursdays at this time we go to story time and get new books. Today we have a vet appt for Spirit so we have to skip story time. I hope to go after though because we are running short on books for Alex. We then read some books and a chapter out of Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

11:00 Vet appointment. Alex read while we waited. And waited and waited. Anyone who has or had an active toddler knows that waiting 30 minutes is agony. We went over all the animal pictures, did their sounds, read magazines, and who knows what else several hundred times. They finally called us back and did their exam. Somehow Ian managed to fall off the chair he was sitting on but thankfully he landed on our coats. They told us we would need to wait another 20 minutes for the x ray to be done. We went next door to the park. They played on the structures some but they were largely ignored in favor of the picnic table (AKA as the mountain) and running randomly around.
12:00- We saw the cat’s skeleton adn learned she has arthritis :(. $309.00. yeah.

At this point I know I should go home and let Ian take a nap. We have plans to meet up with friends at the park. At the same time I really wanted to swing by the library this week and there is no way tomorrow will work or this weekend. Sooo…….off we go! Dropped the cat off, neighbor came over to remind me to let his dog in later so we chatted a minute. We listed to Julie of the Wolves on the way. Ian fell asleep so we picked up lunch and ate at the park next to the library while Ian slept in the car. He woke up and the 2 were off again. I corralled them pretty quickly though so we could get those books and get home.

Once we did that (I am sparing you the details of going to a library with a 2 year old) we came home and Alex finished his piano while I searched again for a lost item. While I was ripping the kitchen apart Ian took that as an opportunity to get into the cat food. They look like balls so…….ugh. All over. I did not find the item either. Alex was sweet and offered to help me clean it up. Quick stop by the express library to pick up some books on hold and we are off to the park with friends. A little late but not too bad! Alex and Ian both read on the way so no book on tape this time.

3-around 5 I think- Play at the park. Lots of running around, a game of hide and seek, lightsabers, and mud sculptures were the name of the game there.

We left there and swung byt the grocery store where I got out with no one crying *bowing*

When we got home I asked them to do something quiet and self contained while I cleaned up the mess I made earlier in the kitchen. Alex read and Ian ate….LOL. We went up for a bath and while the boys played I cleaned the bathroom. I usually either clean or read to them.

Daddy came home as we were getting out of the bath!

While dinner cooked, Alex did his math. We ate, read some more stories-Ian and I did. Alex was too interested in his new library books.- and then went to bed at 8. I fell asleep with the kids. I always do.

To give you the full 24 hours, Ian was up at quarter to 5 and Alex woke up at 5:30.

Field Trip

March 1, 2009

On Friday we went to Rowena’s Bakery. We were allowed to tour the back adn see how she makes the jams adn cakes. It is a cute little place!img_6887This is their tea room. Cute! I was happy that last week they had a Magic School bus gets baked in a cake so it tied in science too 🙂

Wednesday

February 18, 2009

I am so tired today (too tired to come up with a catchy title!). What is it about a toddler that is so exhausting!? We went on a tour of Central Library today and I was beat after. The thing is, he stayed in his stroller the whole time! Even with that, I was spent :-). Gotta love him! He nearly found me out tonight too.

We were at the grocery store and he was grabbing at something I did not want him to bother so I told him to stop. He looked at me. And right then I thought “Or what? What was I going to do if he did not stop. Nothing, that is what. There is going to be a mutiny!” I thoughtthis but did not actually say it. But then I remembered I can’t think this way! Kids can smell the fear. So I hardened my stare and willed him to behave. He put his hand down and cried. Shew. I did not actually skip down the aisle but, man, I felt like it. LOL.

This made me smile today:
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Boot camp? Jedi training? Daddy working out?