Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to get through a day without TV

I wrote a post almost a year ago that is still upsetting many people. TV and Computer Time for Babies I've had many people ask me how we make it through a day without the kids watching tv. Here's our typical weekday schedule. (The photos aren't related to the content of this post.)

Sometime before 7:30 The kids wake up and play by themselves - usually completely destroying the playroom.
Between 7:30-7:45am We wake up and tell the kids to get dressed.
7:45-8:15 Breakfast
8:15 bathroom/wash hands/brush teeth/brush hair - drive the kids to school (both kids go T and W, one or the other goes M and Th)
8:30-12:15 School - if one child is at home we have a "Mommy Day" which consists of things like grocery shopping, reading books, playing games,lunch etc. On Fridays both kids are home and we play games, read books, and go to the park.
12:30-3 Nap Time!!!! The most glorious time of the day.
3:00 Circle Time and Snack Time
3:30 Art project
4:00 Play with toys, read books, play outside
5:00 Husband comes home, he plays/reads with kids while I cook (or vice versa)
5:30 Dinner
6:00 Family walk around neighborhood
6:45 bath/shower time
7:00 bed time

That's a full day for the kids without any tv. We only have one tv in the house and we don't turn it on when the kids are awake. The kids don't even know to ask for tv. It's never been an issue or a big deal. On the weekends we are even more busy - always out doing things and on the go.

Now for some confessions - I'm slightly addicted to tv. The minute the kids are in bed, that tv is on and I'm watching it. I'm most likely also sitting with my laptop, something else my kids aren't allowed to use. I have difficulty getting through a day without many hours of screen time and I don't want my kids to have the same issues.

Friday, February 22, 2013


We have made a point of surrounding our kids with music since birth. Music is a huge part of my life and I want my children to enjoy it as well. So when my kids choose to do musical things without me starting it, I get excited.

Here is sweet daughter playing the piano. Not a prodigy, but she loves hearing the music she "composes". A couple of days later I walked into the playroom to see that my son had rearranged a chair and some of the tubs from the play kitchen into a drum set. I love the creativeness!

My sweet son is so quiet in public. Many people have never heard him speak. Yet we get home and he instructs me to get the camera because he is going to put on a show. This is what I recorded (and then we went to the backyard).

It's amazing just how different kids are at home and in public. Luckily, I can post videos to prove the child I see at home does exist. haha

Monday, February 18, 2013


We do circle time every day. One day I was cooking dinner and heard the kids doing it by themselves.

We don't just talk about the calendar and weather though. We also talk about current or upcoming holidays. This means we have been talking a lot about (and reading about) U.S. Presidents. Here are some of the things I overheard:
"George Washingmachine was the first President here." Sweet Son.

"Abe Lincoln said, 'no more selling people' when he was President." Sweet Daughter. I guess that's how she understands the end of slavery.

Fairly close for a couple of two year olds! It's so interesting to hear their interpretation of learning about Presidents. I love hearing them put these concepts into their own words and seeing them teach each other is a great way of observing their level of understanding these concepts.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fine Motor with Two Year Olds

I've written so many posts on how to build fine motor skills here, here and here, but it's time for some examples of why it's important.

This is a favorite game around here. It's a fruit stand and they use the tweezers to pick out certain pieces trying to prevent the other pieces from falling off. It can be adjusted to different angles to increase the difficulty. My kids have no idea that this builds fine motor skills. They just like playing with miniature fruit. How directly does this translate to a "real life" skill?


Blurry cell phone photos demonstrate using this exact skill in a Chinese restaurant. Their technique still needs more work, but how many toddlers in America do you know that eat this way? For the record, I still use a fork to eat, but my kids insist on using the "chopping sticks."

Cutting skills are also all based on fine motor. I was laughing with someone the other day because according to the developmental guidelines scissors should not be introduced until 3 and if a child isn't proficient at cutting on a straight line by that time they are considered behind. How can you be proficient at a skill that hasn't been introduced? We clearly introduced it before the kids were 3 and I'm good with that. We started with just cutting paper - snipping mostly. Sweet son figured out cutting across the paper first, but they were both able to cut on a line by the time they turned 3.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras and Wonderful World

Painting Masks with Purple, Yellow, and Green. The teacher in me can't help but notice she is still using a fist grip while he is using a tripod grasp too far up on the brush.
They added feathers and had Mardi Gras Masks!

We were making Mardi Gras masks while listening to Mardi Gras Mambo. Sweet Daughter then requested some "good music." When further questioned she wants to hear some Satchmo. I was able to get a recording of her singing "What a Wonderful World". :) She may not know a single Disney Princess, but she knows the important stuff. haha

Here's sweet daughter's version of "Wonderful World." Yes, we have an illustrated book of the song.

 Not to be outdone, sweet son has is own version of "Wonderful World."

This is what happens when they both try singing it together... bouncy, bouncy

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stubborn runs in the family

I'm playing with sweet son when sweet daughter walks up.

Daughter: Mama, are you making me lunch?
Me: I'm playing with Son.
Daughter: Mama, CAN you make me lunch?
Me: I can.
Daughter: (getting frustrated because I haven't moved) WILL you make me lunch, Mama?
Me: Sure!


Me: Daughter, do you want pizza?
Daughter: No
Me: turkey and cheese, grilled cheese, tortilla with hummus
Daughter: No, No, No
Me: Is your name Daughter?
Daughter: NO.
Me: Can you say something other than 'no'?
Daughter: Yes, I can. I ob-stent. (obstinate)

I don't know where she gets it from... haha

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kids have too much energy

It's cold and raining outside and my kids have way too much energy. That means it's time to pull out something new to play with (and hopefully exhaust them).

This is an inflatable air mattress. It has a slow leak so we can't use it for letting people sleep, but rather than throw it out we let the kids go crazy. The kids call it an air track (like at Little Gym). We start by just jumping across it.

One at a time is best, but we rarely end up following that rule. We do try to go the same direction, so there are fewer head injuries.

Then there is the fun of doing somersaults.  These are more difficult to get good photos of, but you get the idea.

This usually will buy me about an hour of the kids exercising. Then we can focus on doing art, reading, or the rain will stop and we can go outside to run some more. We only bring this out once every few months so it keeps the novelty, but the middle of Winter and the middle of Summer are both perfect times for an activity like this.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The zoo AGAIN

Yes, we love the zoo.

  We can look a giraffe in the eye!

 And in the mouth...

 We can eat lunch while looking at lions.

 We can smell a wart hog. (Or is that a red river hog?)

We can even attempt a family photo on the butterfly bench.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another Zoo Trip

It's cold again so we spend a lot of time at the zoo. I know I've mentioned this before, but it's perfect. The animals are out and active and there are very few humans to get in the way!

It's fun to walk down the path and see the guinea fowl headed our way. My kids wonder how close they can get to these birds.

That's when the birds herded my kids together. Suddenly there was no way to escape or get away from them, which the adults all found amusing. My kids just kept spinning in circles trying to figure out what was going on. There is no way this would have happened with the crowds in the Summer.

Then we headed over to the cheetah. My kids wanted to say "hi" and see if it would come closer.

I love when they can get close enough to count the spots. All three of them stood still looking at each other for almost 5 minutes, which is an eternity in the life of a 2 year old.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ohio and a hair cut

We (Sweet Son and I) are reading a book about dinosaurs. He looks at me with that look of complete confusion and asks: "Can we go to Ohio?"
Me: "Ohio? You want to go to Ohio? Why?"
Son: "Ohio is next to the race car state."
Me: "The race car state?"
Son: "Indiana has race cars."
Me: "You want to go to Ohio because it is next to Indiana, which has race cars?"
Son: "Go to Ohio tomorrow?"

Once again I have disappointed my son. We will not be going to Ohio tomorrow (or anytime in the near future). I also have no idea where he comes up with this stuff. We do have a couple of books about Texas, but I've certainly never taught him about Ohio or Indiana. I'm guessing he's learning it at school. Must be time to bring out our US state puzzle and some more books since he's interested.

 These are the before photos.

How do we get him to hold still and let us cut his hair? We give him a turn, which does occasionally leave a strange mark across his head, but overall works well.
 The Process - haha


Friday, February 1, 2013

Waking up too early

We all go through adjustment periods. Our kids started waking up too early. WAY TOO EARLY. Anyone who knows my husband or me in real life knows this is one of the worst things they could do to us. We love sleeping, especially in the mornings.

I know other people who had tried clocks that turn green when they should wake up. However, the clocks all needed to be plugged in and set on a shelf. We have no shelves in my kids room. We can't have anything plugged in and as I've mentioned on here many, many times, my kids will destroy anything/everything. Then I saw a sale (50% off) on these:

Here I'm introducing them to the kids. They each got a cute owl. They are soft and cuddly, which is perfect for sleeping. When you push their stomach they hoot, turn orange, tell you something, and then play a lullaby. If it's a long time to sleep they tell the kids to go back to sleep, they will also say things like "just a little bit longer" when it is almost time to wake up. When it is time to wake up, they turn green. They don't play music unless you push the button. The change is just enough to encourage waking up, while allowing them to sleep if they really need it. You can set them for overnight and for nap time. These seemed like the perfect solution!

My kids immediately took off the soft, cuddly part and slept with the really hard inside. You can see them sleeping here with the bright green light. This worked really well for a few months. Now, a year later, they at least know they can't wake us up until their owls turn green. Not exactly what we had in mind, but I'll count it as a win - at least since I have redefined win. haha