Monday, October 31, 2011

Tot School: Halloween!!

This weeks Theme: Orange, Black & Pumpkins
G is 19 Months Old

This Week
G has been cuddly, cranky, whiny & all the other things that come along with 2 year molars cutting through. (Or trying to!) She hasn't been sleeping well - which means Mommy hasn't been sleeping well. This morning I woke up to my alarm & realized that she didn't wake up. I did the "full nights sleep" jig - something I haven't done for probably a year. I've also officially decided that watching your 1 year old have to deal with the pain & discomfort of cutting molars is worse than labor. That was over in 18 hours. This is taking FOREVER. Poor Munchkin.
This was pretty much my long explanation for - we didn't do a lot this week. I did take some activities out here & there and managed to get a few pictures, but we laid low this week. The TV was on much more often than usual, and G & I could be found snuggling under our blankets on the couch. But sometimes we all just need a week like that.

Excel by 5
We did go to Excel by 5, nothing takes your mind of teething like rooms full of fun things & other kids.
Stacking foam blocks in the 'Block Room'

Gluing felt pumpkins onto black felt in the 'Art Room'
(I also believe I had to utter the words - "Don't eat the glue stick")

Tot Activities at Home

Coloring the pumpkin orange.

Showing off her orange crayon

Playing with the felt Jack-O-Lantern

Picking up the monkeys & putting them back in their barrel using a strawberry huller

Last week I managed to add blue noodles (which turned out kind of greenish) to our red noodles; I just never managed a picture of her playing with them. This week I added some orange also.

Playing with her colorful noodles

I really need to come up with a better solution for managing this activity. She gets so into it I just let her be, but it always seems to end up like this....

I think I should invest in a sheet to put down for a much easier cleanup.

How She's Growing
G is showing much more desire to dress herself. She's been able to put her arms through her shirt, pull it down over her head or pull it off for sometime. Recently I began having her pull up & down her shorts or pants.

She pulled a pair of pants out of the laundry I was folding and tried to put them on by herself...

She is also very big on accessories right now. She must always have a necklace on. Just this week - after 19 months of trying - she likes to wear hats!
(Hopefully that means headbands won't be too far off, her hair is in that awkward stage of 'grow out' & the use of headbands would be great!)

This picture is awful blurry, but this is the first time she's EVER kept this hat on and her expression is adorable. I'm glad I got the picture, because she ran away yanking the hat off 2 seconds later.

Mommy's Favorite Shot This Week

I will never get tired of pictures of G with her Daddy. Never.

I wish you all a happy & safe Halloween. May you receive more treats than tricks.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Tot School - Blue

Week 6 of Tot School.
G is 19 months old.

This week's theme was Blue and Water!

During our Excel by 5 visit this week G wanted to visit the block room, art room and the 0-2 room. We met up with a playgroup there and she played well - for the most part - I really don't like the pushing thing that starts to show up around this age. We're trying really hard to nip that.
I was pleasantly surprised that G went into the art room, pulled up a chair and actually was engaged with two "crafts". She colored and then we glued feathers on a Popsicle stick for hair and I drew her stick friend two eyes & a nose. Something silly & simple, I was just grabbing for anything she could do because at home she hasn't really been into any crafty things I've offered. She still likes to carry her stick friend around the house, now, almost a week later.

Now our tot activities at home!

First we gathered all the blue toys.

And we put them together in a pile

Here is photographic proof that she might be getting sick of me & my camera.
(I also think the face she's making makes her look like a little old lady.)

I mixed some water dyed blue with some oil and we had fun shaking & tipping the bottle upside down. Then G really wanted to drink it, so this activity didn't last too long.

Still enjoying the flashcards.

G is still entertained, endlessly, by the Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker.
Now we've found some other ways to use it.

Balancing the rings in her hands

We have another, less popular stacking toy. The middle rod does not like to stay in place. So I took it off of the other base and gave it to G to insert into the rings.  Having a new way to play with this toy kept her busy for quite awhile. It didn't take her long to figure out that she could use this new stick to pick them up if she held both ends so the ring didn't fall off.

Her toy of choice to "borrow" this week from Excel by 5 - a choice that was heavily influenced by her Mama - was Lakeshore's Fish & Learn Play set.
She really enjoyed this toy, so much so that there's a chance one could be under the Christmas tree with her name on it, in December.

Spending time in the art room at Excel by 5 must have been a turning point, because she was really into painting this week. I glued down some pictures of animals that live in water and she paint washed over them. (Of course, she found out it was much more fun to turn the cup of paint/water upside down and soak the entire paper blue...) 

I took blue objects we found earlier in the week, and hid a couple of them in the backyard. G had a lot of fun finding everything, and actually moved too fast for me to get many decent pictures.

We didn't really read any new & different books this week. Actually I couldn't find many blue/water books at the library on base. Their selection is still suffering 6 years after Katrina. I think I may find out if they take donations and go hunting around the local thrift shops. Of course, it doesn't really matter because G was obsessed with the same books as last week.

How She's Growing!

G has been trying sooo hard to jump. Occasionally she'll get both feet off the ground. But more often than not it turns into skipping around. It's cute either way.

We're getting a glimpse at the toddler independence. She doesn't like to be pushed on the swing anymore. She actually prefer that you sit next to her and swing with her. She also thinks she can pump her legs. She's not in focus for this picture, but it's the only one I've been able to get of her sticking her legs out to "pump".

No new words this week either. Though she's clearly speaking in sentences. We just have no idea what EXACTLY the words are. ;)

Mommy's Favorite Picture This Week

I am amazed at what a big girl she is becoming. This picture displays her to a tee right now. She is girl through & through. Likes to have a bow or clip in her hair and likes to dance. (Here's she's dancing to "I'm a Little Teapot".) Though usually she has to wear her white tutu while dancing.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Tot School: Not Every Week is Picture Perfect

Tot School Week 5
G is 18 months old.

My apologies right from the start, I did not manage to take a lot of photos this week. And those I did take, don't have the best quality. We're short on AA batteries, and the rechargeable ones I swore would ONLY be for my camera flash - have found themselves relocated to the wii remotes. (The wii is how we watch our tv...). I'm hoping to buy some more. very. very. soon.

Beginning of this week G & I went to visit our local Excel by 5 program.
This place is great. They have age appropriate rooms (0-2 and 3-5) filled with educational toys. It's great when we need a break from our house & our (lack of) stuff - not to mention it gives G a chance to interact with some other kids. And it takes some stress off Mommy who's been worrying that she's not interacting enough with kids now that we've moved away from everyone we know!

My favorite thing about this place is they have a toy library - we can take home an educational toy for a week. This will be a great resource for tot activities - because what I have at home is apparently very boring now.

To add to how awesome Excel by 5 is, they have a block building room, an art room, the staff is wonderful AND they send the little ones home with a snack, color sheets & a "goodie" from a small toy bin they have by the door. And the best part? It's all FREE!!  We walk in the door, enter our name on the sign in sheet & off we go to have some fun. Every community should have something like this place. Unfortunately, right now it appears as though this is a Mississippi thing.

We will probably go at least once a week, and it will become part of our tot school routine. As I become more familiar with the place & staff, I'll be sure to start taking some pictures.
Our first week we borrowed these sensory balls. They were meant for younger babies, but we had fun with them anyway.
Here she's hugging the "soft" ball.

In previous weeks, when it came time for tot school, I would sit down with G and offer her a toy or activity. This is the first week that I offered her a choice. I can now say that giving her choices does not work for us. Maybe I just gave her too many choices.
 I also tried to do a "art" activity with her, but she wasn't having it. She'd undo anything I did. Things just did not work for us, at home, this week.
Not every week can be a good week. But we did have some quiet moments:

Here she is reading Slide & Find - Colors

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker is still a favorite around here.
She also likes using her drum as a seat.

We have lots of parks to choose from - between our neighborhood, on base & in the community; so that is a favorite activity right now. 


Favorite Books: Though we did borrow new library books, I've yet to read one. We received our boxes from home - which contained the few books of G's I choose to bring down. I can't tell you how many times I've read Cock-a-Doodle Doo, Barnyard Hullabaloo or Itsy Bitsy Spider this week. But I'm happy she's happy to have some of her own books back. Though I have a sneaking suspicion we read Cock-a-Doodle-Doo so much so she can say "moo" on the cow page and "who who" on the owl page.

New Words: She did say "Mama I love you"...once. It was enough to melt my heart for awhile. I don't think I've heard anything else new out of her mouth. Though I love when you ask her a question and she'll say "ummmm....yes". :)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tot School: Back in the Swing of Things

Week 4 of Tot School. G is 18 months.

This week was all about getting into a routine & working in some tot activities. To go from working at the office full time, to being home & working when I can, has taken some adjustments. I find myself much more tired than I was sitting at a desk all day, but I am really blessed to finally have the opportunity to be home with my little G.
There was no *real* theme this week. Just sticking with colors, shapes & identifying things around us.

 She's coloring in some shapes I drew on a piece of paper. It took a couple tries. She didn't want the crayons, or colored pencils. Only markers please!


Placing foam shapes in her stacking cups. I got these shapes at the $1 section at Target!

First introduction to the color flashcards I made. She had to have all of them face with the word up, so I made a game out of it. I'd flip them over real fast and as she flipped them back I'd say the color.

Then it was time to match shapes up with the flashcards. I matched the first couple with the same color. Here she is doing the same with green.

G's Grandma bought a Cedarmont Kids Toddler Action Songs CD/DVD set.
Here she's marching along to "The Ants go Marching"...

We tried our hand at apple stamping. It turned into a regular finger painting session.

As part of our new routine, we go to the library every week. Very few books came to Mississippi with us, so of course the library books are ones she loves to hear multiple times a day.
G's favorites this week have been: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, Curious George Goes to the AquariumCock-a-Moo-Moo

New Words This Week: "M", "Outside"
And be still my heart I heard "thank you" & "yes please". Still not saying them every time they should be. However, to hear them come out of her mouth helps me to know she's listening. (For the time being, the sign for 'please' can go a long way in this house!)

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Truth

Most of the blogs I come across seem to have Mom's who have more crafting talent in their pinky toe than I have in my whole self, come up with amazing projects for their kids and they actually come out cute AND they can cook incredible meals; they certainly don't burn applesauce either.

Their blogs are filled with pictures of perfection and you wonder how in the world they do it.
But, behind the scenes how many of them are really dealing with this......

Or this.....

Or even this.....

And you just don't know it.

So now you know why I burned the applesauce.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homesick or How I Tried to Cure my Autumn Withdrawl

I have been very homesick this week, as well as desperately feeling like I was completely missing out on Fall. It's my favorite season, and I was missing all the fun.
So today I woke up with a fire under my butt and decided to enjoy style.

First let me say...apples down here stink. When you've grown up in NY and can yank an apple off the tree to eat while you continue to pick apples to bake & cook are an apple snob. The macintosh I found at the comissary were squishy & soft and not at all juicy. Sad. I didn't want to suffer through one more bite.

I decided to use them for applesauce instead.
Naturally the best thing to do when you don't like to cut it up in tiny pieces & boil it.

Originally I had taken pictures as I went, with big grand plans to share my recipe in this post. I was especially excited because I was trying the applesauce with brown sugar, instead of white sugar this time around. I was drooling at the thought of some homemade applesauce. But I got distracted by a certain toddler...and it burned. It tastes okay, G loved it at least....doesn't look very good...lets just call it carmelized applesauce and leave it at that. activity...Apple Stamping!
Except...we don't have any paint. But that's okay...I've made finger paint before. We'll just do that.

Except I made it a bit too runny. But it was okay, we were going for the experience...not to make masterpieces.

Though, G didn't completely understand the concept of dip apple in paint, press apple on paper.

She got the dip part right, but apples are for eating....aren't they?

I finally gave up and we just moved onto finger painting.
I'm going to blame both lousy attempts on Mississippi apples.

I wonder where Mississippi apples really come from, and which state is actually to blame. I saw a sticker on my lemon, that was from Chile. Maybe these are South American apples too? Perhaps I should have measured my ingredients in metric form for better luck?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Our First Week

We've been in Mississippi, all together in our house, for a little over a week now. We're making strides in getting used to our new home & schedule. To be honest, I like the area. I've had a little home sickness - but I think it's more missing people, than missing home.  

I figured it was time for a quick update.
Here's what we've been up to our first week in our new home.

Somebody got new shoes.

I successfully cooked bacon, more than once. I'm now definitely a keeper in my husband's book.

It seems like G can make any toy into a phone. Including a foam #6.
She'll have wonderful conversations, but she'll never tell me who she's talking to when I ask. And she always clams up when someone on the REAL phone wants to talk.

Tyson has probably spent most of the last week putting things together.
Here you can see we finally broke down and bought G an outdoor toy. She kept peaking through the fence and crying when we wouldn't let her play with the neighbors toys. A travesty to a toddler.

What you don't see pictures is my first ever attempt to drive around base, IN THE DARK.

And for those who have heard me mention the echo in the house, and the lack of furniture and wondered how that could be....Below is a picture of our living room. And yes...that's a vaulted ceiling.

Do you like our "couch"?

So that's what we've been up to. I bought some supplies at the store yesterday to start up "tot school" with G again. We tried a playgroup on Friday, but I don't know if that's our cup of tea. G's too rambunctious in public, and I much prefer a more relaxed setting to get to know other mom's. It's hard to have a conversation when your daughter is pulling books off the shelf at Barnes & Noble. But we'll keep trying to find some friends.

p.s. I know I might have a little bit more family traffic around these parts. To make it easy for you guys, I've added a link on the top right side of this page. Enter your email address and you'll receive my blog updates directly in your inbox. So you don't have to worry about checking back everyday to see if there's something new.