Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gross Motor

I know I've posted before about the importance of exercise, fun ways to engage the vestibular system, and how the earliest gross motor skills show the most progress. So, here's another post about the importance of gross motor skills.

This was their first time in a bounce house. They loved feeling the floor move under them and feeling the reaction of the other one walking/jumping near them. Yipee for cause and effect the fun way. :)

They quickly problem solved that holding onto the side was the best way not to fall over. The unevenness makes their inner ears and vestibular system work to keep them upright even as they run and jump.

Here's a great family activity for gross motor skills. The kids are practicing balance and body control, while the Daddy is having to keep his core muscles tight so he doesn't collapse under the bouncing toddlers. 

Wrestling with your kids is also important. Rough housing in a safe way - in this case on an air mattress with padding covering the entertainment center and sharp corners - helps to teach natural consequences. If you jump on Daddy's back, he will get revenge!

Yummy, eating baby feet! Climbing up a moving surface is much more difficult than climbing up something stationary with footholds like at the park. 

This is what happens when they both want Mommy to rock them at the same time. Rocking seems so simple, and yet, this also helps stimulate the vestibular system.

Some kids get pony rides, our kids get Mommy or Daddy rides. I would love to say this has made me a lean, strong person. Really it just makes me feel like a wimp that I can't go very far, especially as they are requesting we go "faster, faster, faster!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 20, 2012

Best Dog Ever!

I'm sure you are tired of my posts about the importance of kids having animals. This post is very different. We found out in May that our beloved dog had advanced cancer that we couldn't treat. We did everything we could to make him comfortable in his last few months.

He may be taller than her, but he still let her dress him up in costumes. Our kids had no concept of death and Rocky was always with us, so we knew this would be difficult. After much research, we decided to just answer their questions directly and with appropriate concrete language. Saying things like the dog has "passed away" or that he is "in a better place" or that we "put him to sleep" doesn't make any sense to a toddler.

We did change our language about when we took Rocky to the doctor. We stopped referring to him as sick because we didn't want them to think every time someone gets sick that they die. They did see the many pills we were giving him every day and knew we were trying to make him feel better. They also couldn't miss the many vet appointments. They knew something was wrong, but didn't realize how bad it was. They did like that toward the end Rocky wore a diaper at night just like they do. It's good to find a silver lining. haha

 When the time finally arrived we had someone come stay with the kids while we took Rocky to the vet. My husband and I were with him and needed the time to compose ourselves before going home to explain it to the kids. When we walked in the door, the first thing sweet daughter said was "Where is Rocky?" We sat down on their level and told them that Rocky had died. We explained that he wasn't hurting any more and we wouldn't see him again. They ask many questions, but did seem to get it eventually. We answered their questions and we talk about Rocky any time they bring him up.

People want to know how long it takes for them to forget or stop asking. I'm writing this blog post a year later and can't answer it yet. They still remember Rocky and talk about him. If someone asks if we have a dog, sweet daughter will say, "Rocky died." She says it very matter of factly and even knows to give me a hug after (I tend to get upset still). In fact this week, we were doing dictation about car rides and she said her favorite person to ride in a car with was Rocky when we went to Oklahoma. That was literally a year ago and she still remembers.

Sweet son also remembers Rocky, but in a more concrete way. When he sees a big dog he will run up to it and say it's nice like Rocky. If a dog licks his face he will say it's like Rocky, etc.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've already written a post about the importance of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been in the news recently. People seem to think that only young babies should be breastfed and that older babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers shouldn't. This is a really strange concept for me. We are the only mammals that regularly drink the milk of another species. It's normal in our society to drink cow's milk and yet people think it's strange to drink human milk? Logic seems to suggest human milk would be better for humans.

My kids know that babies drink their mommy's milk. This works for all mammal species and doesn't confuse them! They don't remember being breastfed - they really don't remember me pumping. I have tried to let them see other mom's breastfeed so that it is normal. My goal before my kids were born was to breastfeed for at least 2 years, but hopefully longer. If you read the other post, you know I was only able to give them breastmilk for the first year. 

My kids will lift their shirts when their baby dolls are hungry to feed them. I love seeing them do something so natural. At one point they were given baby bottles from a family member. Confused about this concept and with no explanation from me, they decided they were "medicine" bottles. They would pretend to drip the milk or juice on a play spoon and feed it to their babies. The only medicine my kids had up to this point was briar rose, lithy tree, and honey (over the age of 1.5) so they aren't exactly experts.

This is a completely off topic video, but it's just so cute! I'm hiding around a corner, with the camera being the only thing he can see, sorry for the weird angle. This truck comes apart with a toy screwdriver and my son was (and still is) fascinated. He hasn't quite mastered righty tighty, lefty loosy, but he's clearly starting to get the concept!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Water Play

We love playing with water, especially in the Summer. In addition to the sand and water table, the spray bottles, and the inflatable pool, we were given a few other water toys. Grandma bought this ball, which has water coming out of 5 different spots on it.

The kids have played with beach balls before, but they were surprised when this one started shooting water at them.

Sweet daughter is trying to catch the water. She wasn't successful, but she had so much fun trying!

Clearly, this is a photo of a boy who isn't have any fun at all - hah! He discovered you can cover the hole and play "peek-a-boo" with the water. He likes anything he can control.

"Ready? Ready? Peek-a-Boo"

In this photo, the kids have a bucket of water and cheap paint rollers. They are painting our house. That one spot of the house was cleaner than the rest after they were done, though it did dry almost as fast as they could paint.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Toward the end of a long, hot Summer we love to see rain. While all of our neighbors hid inside, we just wanted to have some fun.

Splash! We made the kids wear their water shoes, but other than that we didn't need anything extra. After all, their clothes will dry on their own.

Yes, we are in the street, but we were closely supervising and there were no cars out. Besides, that's where the biggest puddles were. 

Since it was still over 90F outside, the water wasn't cold. This was one of the kids' best memories and it was free and easy.

I can't let the kids have all the fun. I like splashing in puddles also. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012


Remember when I said we read a lot around here? I love when I can see the results in the way my kids play. Here are some great examples.

Sweet daughter first got the red blocks and built up these steps. Then she spent a great deal of time getting the two babies to sit on it, but not next to each other. She sat down in front of them and announce she was going to read them a book. I can only hope that when she got out the blocks, she was planning the entire thing.

Sweet son got out the dinosaurs and lined them up, all facing him. He then picks up a dinosaur book which I have only read to him once. He turns the book to face the dinosaurs so he's looking down at it. Then he says,

"This book is about you dinosaurs.
I'm going to read it to you.
Big A, Little A, (turns page)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (turns page)
This little piggy stayed home (turns page)
Twinkle twinkle little star (turns page)
Told you it was about dinosaurs!
I'm a big duck now. (turns page)
Brown bear what do you see? (turns page)
Elephants don't hop (turns page)
The End
See, this book's about you!"

This is sweet daughter "reading" one of her favorite books - Owl Babies. This is a story about 3 owls who wake up to find their mommy gone. The bigger two think she's out hunting for food and will come back. The smallest owl, Bill, just keeps repeating, "I want my mommy!" I love the way she ways it with so much emotion.

Here is sweet son "reading" 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. In case you don't know the story, there are 5 monkeys jumping on the bed and one at a time they each fall off and bump their head. Mama calls the doctor and the doctor says, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

Friday, August 3, 2012


A local music school had an open house and we just had to go see what they offer. In addition to the instrument petting zoo, the kids also got to go room to room and try out some of the larger (non toy) instruments.

They recognized this one from home. While they both love playing the piano, sweet son has an amazing interest in it. At home he will sit for long stretches of time just playing on it.

This was sweet daughter's favorite new instrument to try. I can't believe they had a violin small enough for her. She immediately placed it on her shoulder like the instructor was demonstrating.

This was sweet son's favorite. He was hitting the drums with such enthusiasm and rhythm the instructor was amazed he isn't even 2 years old yet.

There is a ton of research about the benefits of music instruction, especially at an early age. Ideally music instruction should begin around the time a child turns 2. However, we were not able to find/afford a good class that fits into our schedule, so we decided to wait another year. That being said, the kids sing, dance, and play the piano every day so I'm ok with waiting.