Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day

Yesterday morning started out pretty normal.  Will left for work, and I had plans to meet up with friends at Chick-fil-a.  Light snow dusting was predicted, but I usually don't think anything will happen..especially if the schools don't cancel.

It was colder than expected.  Snow came earlier than expected and lasted longer than expected.   Businesses and schools shut down and once, and too many people hit the roads.

It was like nothing I have ever seen.  People slept in their offices, children slept in schools, many slept on interstates and highways, and cars were abandoned as people trekked miles home.

Will spent the "snow day" trapped at school.  It was a bummer because it was a beautiful powdery snow.  The kiddos loved it.  We made snowman heads, snow angels, threw snowballs, and ate snow cream.  We drank hot chocolate and read our snow books.  We watched movies and ate cheerios for dinner.  We had a blast!  We wish Will had experienced it with us.

Snow Cream!

"Mommy, I do not live in this house anymore.  I live outside now."

Daddy finally arriving at 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon.  He had been gone since 6 the day before.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hudson (A little over 3 1/2)

Hudson sleeps with his lights on now. Even if I turn it off before I go to bed, it is always on in the morning.

He still loves Curious George and Winnie the Pooh.  Will's mom gave him the first Curious George movie for Christmas, and he wants to watch it daily.  He never makes it all the way through.  He also likes Jake and the Never Land  Pirates.

He is still carrying around his pile of nonsense which includes 2 wallets, a tobacco tin, and 3 blood sugar checkers.  He can't seem to part with his original blood sugar checker and has a hard time sleeping if we cannot find it.

A few weeks ago, he ate dinner like this:

He wants to help me cook everyday.  A few days ago, we had a few random items in our green beans, including onion peels and pretzels.

He pretty much stopped napping.  He may nap around once a week, but it comes at a high cost.  He is up to nearly 10 at night.  The no nap is a hard adjustment for me.  Rest time just isn't the same as having both kiddos asleep for two hours during the day.


Me: "Hudson, don't drink that." Hudson: "Mommy, this is Dr. Pepper Coke.  Everyone drinks Dr. Pepper Coke.  Dr. Pepper Coke is good.  I need to drink all of it."

Hudson: (holding a box of doughnuts) "Mommy, I love doughnuts, but I don't like lions.  They will bite my finger off. And it would hurt.

Hudson:  (passing a blue mailbox)  "That is called running an errand, but it looks like a mailbox, so I just can't figure it out."

Hudson: (when he was in trouble) "Mommy, I am the mommy now!"

Hudson: (sniffing an alcohol pad) Me: "Stop, that will make you high!" Hudson: "You mean I will get to go in the sky!"

Hudson: "Mommy, are you about to find poop on the bathroom floor?"  (Found it!)

Hudson: "I spit in that water you are drinking."

Hudson: "Mommy, I am making that elevator go up and down with my finger."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Clara-16 months

Clara-16 months.

She weighed 20 pounds at her 15 month check up at 16 months.  She was also short, but I can't remember the length.

Loves animals.  Seriously, squeals when she sees one!

Likes to draw, flip through books, build with blocks, play kitchen, and cuddle her doll.

Says daddy, mama, hot, bye bye, bubble, what's that.

Points to body parts when asked, but gets it wrong most of the time.

Signs for more and all done and shakes her head for yes and no.

Follows simple commands.

Walks fast and everywhere.

Is sleeping from 7 to around 7...sometimes earlier and sometimes later.

Sometimes takes two naps, depending on what time she gets up.  She could survive one one.

Loves to dance to music and clap her hands.

Gives kisses, hugs, waves, blows kisses, and high fives.

Is obsessed with big brother.

Cries when I leave her, but then has fun without me!

I feel like Clara is often overshadowed by Huds.  I naturally plan for him more and interact with him the most.  She just tags along, and she is great at it.  She naturally adapts to whatever we are doing.  I am grateful for that. She is not as busy as Hudson was at this age.  I can plop her down in front of something, and she will stay and enjoy it.

This is a fun stage. I love seeing her emerge into her own personality and take in the world around her.  Everything is new and an adventure.

Tender Moments

Will caught Hudson and I in the midst of a tender moment yesterday afternoon.  We were snuggled together having a chat.

I needed to soak in that moment. In fact, it had been a sweet weekend.  He had hugged me several times and said, "Do you love this Mommy?"  Melt my heart.

The reality is that the past week has been really tough.  Will has been working 13 hour days.  Hudson has completely stopped napping.  "Rest" time has become a battle.  He has had difficulty obeying me, and my patience has been paper thin.  Not to mention the constant talking back and arguing that comes with being 3.  I feel like my emotional tank is remaining on empty.  I often respond to him in frustration and anger.

Hudson is a strong willed child.  He would rather take the punishment and do what he wants than obey.  I pray one day he is gripped by the gospel of Jesus and that his strong willed personality will be used to do damage against the enemy and bring glory to Christ.

Until then, I need to pray without ceasing, drink lots of coffee, soak in His Word, and keep my friends close!  I also need to remember these sweet moments.   I love this boy so very much.  I would never trade him for anyone else.  Grateful that God gave us each other.

He changed my entire life in one day.  In an instant, love became more scary, messy, hard, and beautiful.  To this day, he challenges me more than anyone ever has.  Oh, but it is so worth it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 book review

I honestly am more qualified to give a review of Netflix for 2012 rather than books. I could give a laundry list of reasons why, but I know that this is simply a season of my life.  I will never lose my love for books and gaining knowledge, and one day soon, my energy for reading will return.

That being said, I did manage to pick up a few books this year.  I read very few fiction books.  The year before I read piles and piles of fiction, but this year, I chose to read nonfiction with the little energy I had.  I hope to get lost in plenty of fiction books in the coming year.

Here is my list.  Authors are not listed.

1. To Train a Child-- I loathed this book.  I loathed the arrogant writing.  I loathed the impossible standards it set.  I felt like the writer expected parents to do things perfectly so that children would do things perfectly.  Impossible standards on both sides. I felt like they advocated child abuse and had ignorant parenting techniques.  Few and very few good things were gleaned from this book.  Yet, I have many parents I respect that loved the book, so I am sure it is all in the way you read it.

2. Chasing Fireflies-A Novel of Discovery--It was ok.  I can't remember much.  I just remember it was ok.  I didn't love it.

3.Midwives. I liked this.  It told the story of a midwife who was involved in the death of one of her clients.

4.John G. Paton-You Will be Eaten by Cannibals.-- Short, easy read for church.  This guy is one of Will's favorite people in history, so I loved learning more about him.

5. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World-This was a D-Group read.  I took some great applicable things from it.  Very practical and full of stories from the author's own life.

6. Boy's Adrift-Loved this.  Very good read for moms and dads of boys. Go figure.

7. Grace Based Parenting- Loved this too.  I needed it badly after I read To Train a Child.

8.Kisses from Katie- I adored this book. I adore this sweet girl. It didn't make me feel guilty, but it did challenge me.

9.The Rhythm of Family- The Soule family is so intrguing to me.  I love the way they live slow.  I love the way they embrace nature.  I love the way they "unschool" their children. Not so sure they love Jesus though.  Wish they did.  That would rock.

10. Simplicity Parenting- One of my fave reads of 2013. Love the ideas.

11.The Creative Family-More from the Soule family.  I just read through it and was jealous of them.

12.One Thousand Gifts: Devotional- Wonderful devotional.

13. Handmade Home-More stuff from the Soule family.  A slight infatuation with them this year, but I am over it.

14.Out of the Spin Cycle-Jen Hatmaker replaced the Soule family for my most recent infatuation.  Love. her. writing.

15. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess-More from Hatmaker.  Wonderful!  Challenging! Hilarious!

16: The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas-Best Advent devotional I have ever read.

I read two fiction books this year.  I read around 15 or so last year.  Not my most favorite book year. Nonfiction is good, but it is hard to get lost in a nonfiction book, with the exception of Jen Hatmaker.  I truly could not put either of hers down.

Any recommendations?  I am a sucker for a good memoir, so keep that in mind.

No More Stressful Mondays!

For the past 3 1/2 years, Mondays have incredibly stressed me out.  I guess because I have used Mondays to do everything!  I tried to clean, buy groceries, plan my week, and do the laundry.  So, on Monday mornings, we always had no food, a dirty house, no clean clothes, and no plan.  It got so bad that I started feeling stressed on Sundays. I would usually end up cleaning or buying groceries on that day, so it made for a very tiring Sabbath.

Then, it hit me!  I should do it on Saturday!  Seriously people, it took 3 1/2 years to figure out that little nugget of wisdom.  Although I dislike going to the grocery store on Saturday,  it is honestly better than towing two ticking time bombs every Monday morning and coming home to a dirty house and nothing prepared!

The past two weeks we have used Saturday to do these things.  We get it done in half the time, and I also don't feel too bad about sticking my kids in front of the TV since it is Saturday.  Then, I go to the grocery store. Alone!  We are done by lunch!  I have been using Saturday naps to prepare some of our food for the week...salsa, muffins, granola bars, fudge babies, and pancakes.

Today, I woke up to finished laundry, food in our fridge and pantry, a clean house, and prepared food.  I am even blogging because Hudson is not awake yet.  Magical!

I know some Saturdays will be busy, but I am going to attempt to make Sundays more restful and Mondays less stressful.  That is my plan!

Other than that, our weeks are staying close to the same. Clara still naps in the morning, so that keeps us home.  I am attempting to do a book a week with Hudson along with some type of daily organized activity. Some days he is not interested in it at all, so my expectations are very low.  I a not trying to force him to do any type of "learning" activity.  He is just 3, and I don't want to cause him to have a bad feeling about books and learning.

The best time for me to read with him is during his breakfast.  This is when I usually read his Bible story, discuss his verse, and read his weekly book.  After that, he and Clara have room time.  During her nap, I try to do an activity with him.  Very simple.

I have been using the afternoon to help him find interest in nature.  I hope to keep him outside as often as possible as soon as the weather permits.

We are still doing storytime at the library on Wednesday mornings and our playgroup every other week.  Other than that, we have a pretty open schedule.  I hope to spend afternoons on the soccer field very soon!

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Art and Sensory Supplies

We are  inside our home lots on these long, cold winter days. Many days simply because it is too cold to play outside or because someone has a cold or cough.  Tis' the season for finding ways to fill our time indoors.  Ways that don't always include Curious George, that is.

I have recently spent time restocking our arts, crafts, and sensory supplies.  I do not spend money on expensive supplies simply because I am learning what my kids love, and I would rather invest in a large range of activities rather than a few expensive ones.

I wanted to share these on my blog.   I hope it will help other mommies with  ideas! I also hope to restock as we need an item, but I am sure I will find myself checking this next year when I find myself out of everything!

I have gone back and forth on where to keep our art supplies.  I have had them in the upstairs playroom, stowed them away in a closet, and tucked them away in a decorative suitcase.  It always ended up being so much work to find them and carry them to the kitchen or outside.  I finally decided the best idea was to clean out a cupboard in my kitchen simply to hold it all.  I also keep several easy go to supplies in an old coke crate on top of our refrigerator.

4 bottles of tempura paint--blue, green, yellow, blue. (Michael's Craft Store)
4 bottles of finger paints in same colors (Crayola)
watercolors (Crayola)
lots of little bottles of colorful paints. (Crayola)
cornstarch, flour, and food colors for making paint
paintbrushes--Fat and thin
4 color coded/ spill proof paint cups (Michael's Craft Store)
paint sponges
Do a Dot Paint-(Great for Clara)
Paint Markers

finger painting paper (Melissa and Doug)
table top paper roll (Melissa and Doug)
art easel paper roll (Ikea)
construction paper
drawing paper
computer Paper

Other paper Materials:
paper bags
paper plates
coloring books
color magic coloring books
magazines (for paper ripping and collages)

Crafting and sensory supplies:
googly eyes
 colored craft tape (Target)
glitter glue sticks (Pip Squeaks brand)
glue gun with glue sticks
wood glue
craft sticks
dry noodles
sea shells and sand
modeling clay
play doh making supplies--flour, veg oil, cream of tarter salt
play doh tools
salt - Great for tracing letters or for salt art activities.
shaving cream--great for sensory and tracing letters
white glue and glue sticks
child's safety scissors
letter stamps
other stamps
stamp inks
puff balls
pipe cleaners

Everyday essentials:
dry Erase Markers
chunky crayons for Clara
colored pencils
color magic markers

Chalk board
dry erase board
trays for holding sensory materials- I use Melissa and Doug trays that came with other items. Ex-Lacing bead tray
muffin tins- Great for holding paint or sensory materials.
ice cube trays
trays for play doh
art easel (Ikea)
small art table for outside activities (Ikea)

Usborne's My Very First Book of Art
Usborne's First Book of Art
Usborne's Art Treasury
Mouse Paint (Great for Mixing Colors)
Eric Carle's "You Can Make a Collage"
Preschool Art

Disclaimer: I do not think you need ALL of these supplies.  Just sharing ideas!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Field Bag

I have been soaking up the philosophies of Charlotte Mason. I love her thoughts on learning and am implementing them into our home and learning environment.

One thing I really wanted to do was provide Hudson with opportunities to explore nature. I made him a field bag from several things I found at the thrift store.

Drawing paper and colored pencils.
Binoculars -Backyard Safari. Purchased from thrift store for 39 cents.
Bug holder -Spice jar. Already had holes
Edu Magnifying glass -Purchased with a Toys R Us gift card.
3 Field Guides--Flowers, birds, and bugs.
Paper bag-Used for collecting things we find.
Craft sticks-Used for poking things.

I also am using "Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds" as a great living book reference. "Bird's Nests, and Eggs" is also a great resource.