Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

This was the first year that the kids were old enough to understand Mother's Day. By honest coincidence, a few weeks ago the kids chose a book from the library with the story about Mother's Day. In the story, the brother and sister main characters debated things to do or get for their mother. They grew her some flowers, made her a card and made her breakfast-in-bed.

Last week, Andrew went to his friend's house, Marcus, to play. Marcus's mom helped them make Mother's Day cards (Olivia, you are one of the most thoughtful people I know - thank you). Andrew was very excited to hide his surprise from me.

Sunday morning I got up a little early feeling rested and was just about to start the day when I was informed that I was supposed to still be asleep. It took Mike a great deal of love for me to get out of bed (he was up till 2am the night before working). But I stayed in bed and waited for my "surprise." I honestly tried to go to sleep, but I was still awake when I heard the kids coming. I pretended to be asleep because I knew they would want to wake me up.

They served me breakfast-in-bed on a silver platter (cookie sheet) with a beautiful card made by Andrew. He and Rachael were very excited and pleased with themselves and hardly acknowledged daddy's help in making the breakfast.

It was a very relaxing day feeling very loved and appreciated by my family.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mommy School - Andrew

I have been doing "mommy school" with Andrew and Rachael since Sept '09. First, it was just to supplement their preschool, but then we had to withdraw them from preschool and I started taking it more seriously. Since Jan '10 I have been working with another mom who has a boy and girl the same age and Andrew and Rachael, respectively. She is mainly responsible for math while I focus more on English.

This week, we have been working on the letter H.
Monday, Andrew is at her house. They worked on pattern recognition, addition/subtraction, and counting to 100 by 5's. For homework I had him practice writing the letter H and we did a letter find.Tuesday, Andrew is by himself with me. We colored the letter H (he loves to color things as rainbows) then he practiced writing his full name. We then had a reading lesson and he read a short story about a man getting a pet cat in his stocking for Christmas. We worked on reading comprehension.
Wednesday, Andrew's preschool friend (not mommy school friend) Marcus came over and we went to the library and they did the letter X. For homework, we came up with words that start with H and he practiced writing them.
Thursday, Andrew is by himself with me. He learned about how the letter H changes the sound of other letters (eg: ch, sh, th, gh, wh) and worked on reading words with an H in them. We were supposed to practice writing words that have the H sound in them (as opposed to starting with the H sound), but I have had serious trouble coming up with words like that. I finally thought of a few (alcohol, longhorn, behave) but we'll have to come back to it. We did have a reading lesson about a man and a ram in the rain and worked on comprehension.
Friday, I host mommy school for the boys. Every week we practice writing the letter and then I find 5 pictures for that letter and they color the pictures and cut them out. They then have to match the picture with the word and practice writing that word. We talked about how to use the letter H in words and what rules dictate that letter. After that, I try to make a treat for that letter. Today we had hats made out of cookies, marshmallows and chocolate chips. I got the idea from Family Fun magazine. Their hats turned out much better looking than ours, but ours were still tasty.
Saturday, Andrew will finish whatever writing practice hadn't been finished earlier and we'll have another reading lesson.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mommy or Human?

While I was cleaning up dinner, Rachael announced, "Next, I'm going to be human."
"What?" I asked. She hadn't said or done anything to prelude the "next" part of her statement.
"When I'm done being a mommy, I'll be a human next," she answered.
Curious, now, I asked, "So, a mommy isn't human?"
"No," she said in a tone of voice the denoted, "Duh!"
"Oh," I said, "If a mommy isn't a human, what is she?"
Her brow wrinkled down in frustration as she said, "A mommy is a mommy, not a human."

well..... ain't that the truth.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Homemade Christmas - Nativity Set

Mike once worked in a ceramics store so he thought it would be fun for us to make our own Nativity set. We got just the bare basics this year and will add more each year. We had fun with the kids cleaning the green pieces then painting on the glaze. We talked about Joseph and Mary and Baby Jesus. It was a fun activity and the start of a great tradition.

Homemade Christmas - Sunday Bags

I decided to do a homemade Christmas for 2009 while I could still get away with it. Andrew is already starting to want the expensive toys and such, so I knew my window of opportunity was fleeting. While I had many ideas of things I could make, only a few actually got completed.

I was tired of packing activities and snacks for Andrew and Rachael in the diaper bag, just to have them complain that they wanted different things. I would explain that there wasn't room for everything and it made Sacrament Meeting in church anything but reverent or spiritual. So, I decided to make each of them bags with special Sunday items and they are responsible for packing what they want each Sunday

I had some leftover fabric from their pillows and I found some wintery sparkly fabric at 75% off, so here are the final products. Rachael's is the rag-time bag and Andrew's is the rainbow one.
They each got their own coloring book, Book of Mormon, and Gospel Art book. They love the big coloring book and we often flip through the pictures in the Gospel Art book. Andrew is starting to recognize some of the pictures and associated stories. Rachael loves to "read" her Book of Mormon.

I used old blue-jean fabric for the inside of each bag to make them reversible. Andrew's is a bit more reversible, since it's not rag-time. I had no pattern to make these from and it took serious mental acrobatics to figure out how to make his reversible with all the seams on the inside; I'm quite proud of the accomplishment. :)

Homemade Christmas - Pens & Markers

I decided to do a homemade Christmas for 2009 while I could still get away with it. Andrew is already starting to want the expensive toys and such, so I knew my window of opportunity was fleeting. While I had many ideas of things I could make, only a few actually got completed.

I got the idea to make flower pens for Rachael when she threw a fit at an office that had flowers on the ends of their pens. Her fit was over the fact that we couldn't take one of the pens home with us.

Rachael keeps smelling them and saying they smell pretty. I keep thinking I should put perfume on them, or something, but I don't know if I even own any perfume.

I wanted to make a counter-part for Andrew and my friend Molly loaned me a book with this great pencil scroll pattern. I decided to use washable markers, though, instead of colored pencils.

While I was finding matching fabric for the markers, I left them out late one night. The next morning Rachael woke up before me and found them. Shortly thereafter, I'm assuming since I was still asleep, Lizzie woke up and Rachael decided to help Lizzie be happy while stuck in her crib. Rachael was very proud of herself for her helpfulness. She told me how she kept Lizzie happy with the special markers. This is what I discovered when I sought for clarification.

And, yes, it was all over Lizzie, too.

Homemade Christmas - Pillows

I decided to do a homemade Christmas for 2009 while I could still get away with it. Andrew is already starting to want the expensive toys and such, so I knew my window of opportunity was fleeting. While I had many ideas of things I could make, only a few actually got completed. One of them was pillows.

I was with Rachael in the fabric store and we passed by some "sparkly" fabric - fabric with glitter on it. There were many varieties, but she fell in love with one that was black and had rainbow dragonflies on it. I bought half a yard with no idea what to make. I settled on making full-size pillows for her and Andrew. I had extra minkee fabric (that's the last super-soft fabric) and could get cheap pillows at Walmart.

I then let Andrew pick a special fabric. He loves rainbows and sparkly things, so here is his pillow.

And, of course, Rachael had to have a special pillow and blanket for her special doll, Baby Beth.