Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

For the readers not from the United States, Halloween is a big deal around here. Kids dress up in costumes and go door to door collecting candy. Many houses are decorated - in our neighborhood we have the same number of houses decorated for Halloween and Christmas.

Here they are in their Halloween outfits from Grandma. These are great for during the day before you put on a costume. Though, the long sleeves and pants weren't really appropriate for our weather. It was much to warm to leave them on for too long.

 The community we live in does many events around Halloween. Here the kids are dressed to go around the downtown area and collect candy from businesses. Sweet daughter chose to be a "tiny ninja" which is quite possibly the most appropriate thing she could have selected. Sweet son is a police car. It actually has working lights and siren. What do you do for a kid who bumps into everything? Wrap him in an inflatable costume.

We were trick or treating in our neighborhood when this police officer pulled over. He wanted to take photos of sweet son's costume to show the guys at the precinct. He also gave them candy. It made their day. I should state that while trick or treating is usually after dark, when your bed time is at 7pm, this is what it looks like.

Here is a video of the siren. You can't really see the lights, but they also work. The best thing about Halloween for us? My weird kids don't like candy. They came home from collecting the candy and gave it all to us so they could play with their pumpkins. AWESOME. I'm not sure how many years we will get away with that.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I recently got into a discussion about childhood memories with a friend. I thought I would share on here some of my research. While some people have many vivid childhood memories, some have none, and others will have just one or two by the time they are adults. Obviously this has many variables and no one knows the exact reason, but there are theories.

Previously, I have discussed the roads theory of learning, and much of that theory also applies to memory. It's much more difficult to forget a highway than a country road, though any road that gets ignored will fall into disrepair.

There are many things we know that will decrease the chances of you remembering events from childhood. Second hand smoke (and first hand smoke), drugs, being in an adult centered environment, etc. all hurt your long term memories. Memories that do survive are likely to have a strong emotional connection. This could be a dream vacation, having a tornado rip apart your community, or anything that stimulates your amygdala. Your amygdala and hippocampus are the two parts of the brain most closely associated with memory.

So what can you do to help your child have strong positive memories from childhood? Love them, spend time with them, create moments with a great deal of emotion, and document it with photos, baby books, or a blog. The documentation really only provides a second hand memory and it can be controlled by others, so be careful not to edit too much. You don't want your child to grow up feeling that your photos are faked or leave out the most important parts of their story. Remember, you are a part of their memories - memories centered around them, not around you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of a pumpkin patch. Ok, so everyone else in our neighborhood drives to it, but trust me, it is within walking distance. We go a few times each October because it's so much fun to wander around the pumpkins.

The kids love the little pumpkins. They didn't even throw them at each other, despite what it looks like in the photo.

There are gourds and many places for photos. This is a great time to discuss textures as well. Sweet daughter said sitting on the hay was pokey. Sweet son said the gourd was bumpy. 

The hay bail maze was a lot of fun. Though after the fourth or fifth time, it was more of a race than a maze. 

The best part about being so close is that we were able to go on week days. They are open and you can see how it isn't crowded at all. It's crazy busy on weekends, so the chance to go just for 20-30 minutes on a week day is awesome.

We even took a hay ride with some of our extended family when they were visiting from out of the country.

Here we are on another visit (notice we changed clothes). This was our best attempt at a family photo. I can't tell you how many tries it took to get such a great photo. I mean, half of us are even looking at the camera... It was a little warm for their Halloween outfits. We just couldn't miss the chance to take photos in them since we knew they wouldn't fit again next year. Maybe this year it will be more Fall like weather.

Friday, October 19, 2012


You know that day you discover your two year old can read? Wait.. WTF? Where did he learn that?

Apparently an older child in his class (3.5 years old) is learning to read and he likes to stand behind her and listen to her lessons. From what he has demonstrated at home he knows M,S,T,R, short A, and long E. So far today he has read these words: sat, see, rat, at, me, eat (with a silent a, impressive). He can read them when I write them on paper. He can read them if I point to them in books. He can read them if we take sandpaper letters and put them together. I'm guessing it's not just a fluke (which was my first theory after all). Awesome!

Sweet daughter calls every letter "ABCDE Next time you WILL sing with me" while giving you a look to let you know she's disappointed you weren't already singing with her. I love my kids.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Note the outfit: White/Pink shoes on wrong feet, knee high white socks, pink shorts, 
red shirt, yellow hair bow    This was one of her first attempts to dress herself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Projects

October is the perfect time for pumpkin projects. Many of these we also did last year.

Finger painting their own small pumpkins. As you can see, they still require close supervision, but not nearly as much as last year. This year they can both paint at the same time without too much mess.

Here they are helping us clean out a big pumpkin. They are much more into the slime than the year before. They even helped us separate the seeds from the slime. They watched as my husband carved the pumpkin since they aren't quiet ready for using a knife yet.

They helped us wash the seeds and here we are setting them on a towel to dry so we could cook them. Neither kid really liked eating the pumpkin seeds, but at least they tried.


This is one of my favorite pumpkin activities. Hammering golf tees into a big pumpkin was a hit with both kids as well. It's great for developing hand/eye coordination and who doesn't like to hammer?

After hammering into the pumpkin, we let the kids color it. This is a fun new texture to color on and uses both large and fine motor skills.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's feeding time!

My kids still have trouble with sharing sometimes, but I caught them sharing their snack and had to get proof.


Why take the time to feed yourself if your sibling will do it for you? In case you haven't noticed, he is bigger than she is - by an inch and a few pounds. Everyone has their theories, yet I know exactly why.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fun at Home

Our days are busy at home and these are just some photos of the things we do every day.

In order to introduce other cultures and religions, we read books about all major holidays, even the ones we don't celebrate. Here we are reading a book about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

A few days later when it was time to return the book to the library, sweet daughter was pretending to read it on the way to return it. This is what I heard, "I love reading. Rosh Hashanah. Not a trumpet. It's a show-far. I sorry. I be nice this year. Happy New Year. Sin-a-gong. Apples and honey are sweet. Happy New Year. They give bread to the birds. La Shan Ah Tova. I love the library. The end."

Clearly she has a 2 year old's understanding of the holiday. She gets the small things, but misses the big concepts. On the other hand, I think she knows more about it than most adult non-Jews. I'm proud

Here's sweet son painting. You have no idea how much paper and paint we go through around here. It's great! They are so proud of their art work and I hang it all up. It's also a great start for dictation, which helps with language development.

Puzzles are a favorite as well. Here sweet son is telling me he's holding a "tap-a-zoid." Sweet daughter is putting together a more complicated puzzle of Pooh Bear. If you look closely you can see they both have a place mat under their puzzles. This is something they learned from their Montessori school. Before doing their work, they get out a work mat and keep their work contained. They can't get new work until they put the old work away. I love this concept! It limits the mess and helps to keep them focused. They also know how to roll the mats to put them away - another fine motor skill.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pig Races

I posted earlier this week on some of the great things for kids to do at the State Fair of Texas. This was the one thing the kids continued to talk about. Pig Racing. I'm really not kidding.

 Here's one of the larger pigs. She doesn't race any more.

 Here's an action shot of four pigs racing around the curve! Go, Go, Go!

This is a fairly quick race. They divide the audience into 4 groups and assign each a pig to cheer for. They let the pigs go around the track and the first one in gets an Oreo! I'm not sure of any other way to describe it.

Here's a video of one of the races. It's kind of one of those things you have to be see to appreciate. The crowd really gets into it and the kids thought it was the funniest thing we took them to see.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Little Hands on the Farm

The State Fair of Texas has a children's experience called "Little Hands on the Farm." This is great for all kids, but especially for city kids. It's all designed for kids and at their level, which is awesome.

Of course we have the kids posing at the board for the photo opportunity. He wasn't happy that she got to be on the tractor first. Taking turns isn't fun when you are two years old. 

They did both get a turn riding the tractors around, but were too small to push themselves. We had to help them.

They got to put on an apron, grab a basket and start about their farm chores. Here they are picking peaches from the apple trees. Um... yeah, I didn't design the place, just took the kids so don't ask the logic behind that one.

They got to feed the chickens corn and gather some eggs. My children were concerned that the chickens weren't moving. 

I was excited to let the kids milk the cows. I thought it was going to be like the cow at the museum that sprays water when you pull it's teat. Instead, they were able to hook up a milking machine. Not quite as much fun, but still educational. 

Here the kids are digging a hole, planting seeds, and then watering them. After this, they went to another garden and picked different types of fruits and vegetables.

Another chance for sweet son to sit on the tractor just couldn't be missed. Who cares if you can't reach the ground or the pedals? It's a tractor!

This was actually in a different area, but fit with the theme. The kids got to feed many different types of animals. They actually preferred to watch as we fed the animals, but they talked about it for weeks. The goat tried to eat the entire cup, the sheep wouldn't stand up, the bull looked mean, the pigs were pooping, etc. You know, all the important things in the mind of a two year old.