Friday, February 28, 2014

Flying to/from Cancun

Our kids are excellent travelers and traveling by plane is their favorite. We prefer trips where we don't have to bring the car seats though. Our car seats are made for travel and fold up. They are reasonably easy to get on and off the plane, but traveling without them is much easier. Our trip to Cancun didn't include renting a car so we didn't need car seats. We used our favorite CARES harness so the kids were still in a full harness, not just the airplane seat belt.

We love the CARES harnesses.

We did have a bit of trouble at the Cancun airport on the way home. They have this mascot walking around. He/She is a tequila bottle with reminders in English and Spanish reminding you to check anything over 3oz of liquid. My kids saw the mascot and became excited. They asked us what its name is so we told them "tequila" and snickered. Then the kids started saying, "Come back Tequila! We want to see more Tequila!" Everyone around us was laughing.


I did have to explain this entire episode to the kids' teachers. Kids often say things that are strange out of context, but asking for more tequila really deserved a little warning.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Resort Restaurants

The resort had a few different reservation only dinner restaurants. We tried the Italian one that had great reviews on Trip Adviser and weren't impressed. The next night we decided to try the Spanish one. We were in Mexico after all!

The restaurant was truly Spanish, i.e. food/decor from Spain. It was one of the best experiences we had at the resort. The food was great and the staff was outstanding.

First, they brought out hats for our kids to try on and play with. I should note we had the only kids in the entire place and they were exceptionally well behaved.

Then they brought out the best table game ever. A lime with a napkin on top. The corners of the napkins are twisted and it forms a shell over the lime. The waiter sat it down and gave it a little push. It waddles across the table and made everyone laugh. They let each child play with one. Such a simple idea, but it kept the kids entertained while we waited for the food to be prepared.

Even after bringing the food, the staff continued to offer special attention to our kids. They brought out shot glasses filled with something clear. The kids seemed nervous, but took a cautious sip. Then they were hooked and finished drinking the rest of the shot. It was Sprite, for those who are wondering. It was the first time either of our kids tasted Sprite. They now refer to Sprite as "an adult drink" which does cause some interesting conversations, but I like the concept. haha

At one point Sweet Daughter dropped her shot glass on the floor. It shattered and she was upset. The staff rushed over to clean it up, apologizing for giving her glass. I was apologizing for her dropping it. She was just upset and thought she was in trouble. We all assured her she wasn't in trouble. There is a reason we don't give glass to 3 year olds.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Exploring our Resort

During the Cancun trip we stayed at the resort next door to the one the rest of the family was staying at. This gave us a chance to explore both hotels and see the differences. Ours was rated higher and we enjoyed the restaurants more (come back on Thursday to read that post). Theirs had the kids' club and a playground.

The kids' club was not impressive and we wanted to keep the kids with us anyway. (I walked in and walked around the room and the worker didn't look up or acknowledge me in any way. There were no other kids there at the time.) We did play on the playground a few times during the trip though. It would have been nice to have something like this at our resort, but it was just a short walk between the two.

Across from the resorts was a small mall. Most of the stores were closed or empty. The kids found this frog and we had to stop and take a photo. Sweet Son is wearing "frog green" and Sweet Daughter is wearing an outfit with a frog on it. We did find one store that had some wooden 3D puzzles and the kids each picked out one to bring home. He picked a shark and she picked a princess. The sales woman suggested she pick a princess with lighter skin to match her own and Sweet Daughter refused. Such a simple thing, but I'm thrilled that Sweet Daughter didn't judge based on the color of the skin.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shapes... or not

The kids ask to play with the magnetic marbles. Reasonable enough, so I let them.

Sweet Daughter is making things like clouds, rocks, and snowmen. Clearly she gets her artistic talent from me.

Sweet Son says, "Look, I made a heart." I look over and he starts explaining it - "Here is the left artery, here is the right artery, and you can see the ventricle."

At some point I will realize I shouldn't have expected the shape of a heart. That point wasn't today.

Playing in the Ocean

We spent some time every day playing in the ocean. It was colder than the pools, but it's a much different experience feeling the waves and sand rather than just sitting in a pool.

The water was clear and beautiful. You can't not love the private Cancun beaches.

Sweet Daughter is riding on her Aunt's back. Sweet Son is riding on his Uncle's back. Not to be left out of the fun, Wonderful Husband jumped on my back. You know, in case I might get used to not having someone attached to me at all times. haha

Friday, February 21, 2014

Resort Pools

The infinity pool was warm and had a great view. We spent time in it every day and never regretted a moment of it.

 The four of us looking out at the ocean.

The 8 of us enjoying the water.

This side of the pool had a large ledge so the kids could crawl/swim around on their own.

Here is a wider picture of the same ledge on the pool.

After the first day playing in this pool, Sweet Daughter declared it was her pool. She was kind enough to share with everyone, but she kept asking to go back to "my pool" and we couldn't convince her that any of the other numerous pools at either resort were as good as this one.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Family Vacation in Cancun

With family spread across the continent, we try to meet up with Wonderful Husband's family at least once a year. This time we agreed to go to an all inclusive in Cancun. Then something came up so that the four of us wouldn't be able to go. At the very last minute we were able to join them for a shorter trip, but their resort was booked. We booked the resort next door which was owned by the same company.

 The 8 of us together for the first time in more than a year.

While everyone else had already been there for a few days, we had just arrived at our resort when this photo was taken. Most people would comment on how tanned they are and how white we are, but to be honest, this is how we looked when we left as well. Some of us take sunscreen more seriously than others.

The kids enjoyed relaxing while waiting on the elevator.

Our room had two beds, a couch, and a stocked bar. When the kids would go to bed early, I would hang out reading and order room service. Wonderful Husband got a few extra hours with his family and we were all happy and relaxed. It was actually my first time ever ordering room service at a hotel. I felt fancy. haha

Walking to breakfast

We ate breakfast at our resort since the kids woke up earlier than anyone else wanted. Lunch we would eat at the other resort with the full family. For dinner we would make reservations and eat at a more formal restaurant.

Headed to dinner

We took this photo at least a dozen times and this was the best we could do. If you sat in any of those chairs in the lobby, someone would come by and give you a drink. If you didn't like what they were offering, they were happy to go get what you wanted and bring it back. I could get used to that, yet when I came home no one offered me a drink. In fact, when we got home they expected me to cook and clean and there was no pool, much less an infinity pool. You know what that means... time to start planning another vacation.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's out your window?

Another post of photos my kids have taken with their own cameras. These are all photos out the back window.

Rainy Day backyard by Sweet Daughter

Rainy Day backyard by Sweet Son
Yes, we have a sand and water table and a sand box. They each create very different sensory experiences.

Sky by Sweet Son

New Swing Set by Sweet Son
There will be a post about this later. Wonderful husband built this for the kids with no plans.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 9

Once again, here are the links to the previous 8 tales. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Frustration, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

Every night I check on my kids when they are sleeping. If they are cold, I add a blanket. I make sure they are breathing (yeah, I know most people stop that when the kids are babies). There are many times I use this opportunity to take a photo of the strange scenes I find. Here are some of those photos from February.

Who needs a bed you can push a button to fold when you have kids?

You could stretch out on the bed or you could condense the bed...

Do you sleep with your entire body on your mattress? Crazy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Art and Music Nomenclature Cards

Another Montessori concept that my kids love at home is nomenclature cards. One card has a picture/symbol and the correct label on it. The second card has just the picture/symbol and a third small card has just the label. Kids can start by just matching the symbols and saying the names. Later they match the symbol with the name and use the complete card to check their own work.

We have many different sets of these, but these are pictures from the music symbols set. We also have musical instruments, planets, parts of plants, etc. These are great for the level of independence. My kids will often pick a folder full of these and just practice on their own. It does take up a decent amount of space, but it is quiet and look how proud they are of their work. I find these type of cards on different sites, but my favorite is Montessori Print Shop.

We also use these type of cards for learning works of art and artists. Child Size Masterpieces of Steps 1, 2, 3 - Matching, Pairing, and Sorting - Level 1 Easy is the first step. I highly recommend getting the instruction book that will walk you through all of the steps so you understand the progression. The individual levels do not come with any instructions. My kids know more artists and recognize more styles of art than most high school students, not bad for a couple of preschoolers.

Before my kids started Montessori I had never heard of nomenclature cards and now my kids ask for more. That's a sign of something more people should know about.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Living Room Tour, by my kids

You always wonder how kids see things. Here is a tour of our living room courtesy of my kids' cameras.

Ceiling Fan by Sweet Daughter

Living Room by Sweet Daughter

Above the fireplace by Sweet Daughter

Fireplace by Sweet Son

Grandfather Clock by Sweet Son

Neither child included a photo of our television. The kids don't watch tv so it isn't something important to them. So there you have it, a tour of our living room from the perspective of two 3 year olds. What would your child think is important in your living room?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sweet Son's Photos

Last Thursday I posted photos I found on Sweet Daughter's camera and today I'm posting ones from Sweet Son's. These are all pictures of me working/playing with Sweet Daughter. Once again these capture moments that I don't have other photos of so they mean a great deal to me.

Sweet Daughter reading to me.

Helping Sweet Daughter with piano practice.

Sometimes we are just silly. Ok, most of the time we are silly.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Piano Recital

Before the Recital

The kids did their first piano recital last weekend. It was entertaining. They sang 4 songs with their group (4 students including my 2), played 4 songs as a group on the pianos, and then each played a solo.

 Singing Songs and using instruments

Listening to the other groups perform

Sweet Daughter loved seeing everyone taking her picture and videos of her. Sweet Son liked playing the piano and didn't know why everyone was looking at him. They both got a ribbon for participating. Once they get 6 ribbons they can earn a trophy. They have no clue what a trophy is, but are excited to earn one.


 With their AMAZING teacher

Saturday, February 8, 2014

MyCausora and a Giveaway

Have you heard about MyCausora? I just recently learned about them. It's a simple concept and one I think we should all support.

First you pick a charity to donate money - I selected Donors Choose, but there are many great ones to choose if you would prefer something else. When you donate money, you get a one for one credit match. So if you donate $20, they give you a $20 credit. The credit can be spent at over 150 merchants. My favorite merchants listed include Novica and Creativebug. If you really want to stretch your money, you can use your credit to donate more to charity. How else could you sit at home and buy Shakespeare books for a class and feed a gibbon fresh fruit within minutes?

MyCausora has generously offered to host a giveaway for my readers so you can try it out for free!  10 winners will each get $20 to donate and the winner will get to keep the reward.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 8

Once again, here are the links to the previous 7 tales. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Frustration, Part 6, Part 7

Sweet Daughter has spent the last few months preventing Sweet Son from sleeping at nap time and at night. We finally got fed up (the problem clearly wouldn't solve itself) and decided to move the kids to their own rooms. More accurately, Sweet Daughter stayed in the current ultra child proofed room and Sweet Son  moved to a new room. They now have some basic furniture in their rooms. They each have a dresser (bolted to the wall) and we gave them their bed frames back. We made a big deal out of it. We also went over a long list of things they are not to do with them. For normal kids this would have just given them ideas, for us it was all things they have already done.

The good news is that Sweet Son is now getting the sleep he needs and everyone is happy about that. The bad news is we have added a few more rules about the beds for Sweet Daughter. She moved the ENTIRE bed next to the door. She wanted to turn the light on more and keep me out of the room. She also moved the bed around the room and removed all of her wall decorations. The good news is they are the cheap removable stickers. The bad news is she tore every single one into pieces so now she has no decorations in her room.

This is as far as I could push the door open against her bed.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sweet Daughter's Photos

Here are some more photos I found on Sweet Daughter's camera. These are all photos of things I do with the kids during the day and have no other pictures of, so I was thrilled to find these.

Listening to Sweet Son read.

Helping Sweet Son with piano practice.

Practicing 1 to 1 correspondence up to 10

Making sure Sweet Daughter does her book work for piano.