Monday, June 6, 2011

Preschool Time

I've gone back and forth on doing official 'preschool time' and just doing fun activities with the kids. It seems like a little bit of each is the perfect thing right now.
I've come across some really great blogs and sites in the last few weeks from former and current educators/moms that have reminded me how much I really love child development and this fun preschool age. Some of the sites are great because they have super printable materials for preschool themes that make a great starting place for planning the more formal preschool time. Others I love because they are full of fun ideas to play with your kids and help them learn through play.

My favorite learning through play sites:

Printable sites:

Homeschool Creations has some great activities. We've been using the Transportation theme unit printables and having fun adding our own games/songs/books/poems/activities that are transportation related. More great printables too at Confessions of a Homeschooler (She has a very thorough collection of Alphabet printables and activities that I think I'll reference often). And, some more fun things at 1+1+1=1 .

And a few more that seem pretty cool so far:

Picnic days

One of our first summertime outings was a picnic at Second Dam -- just up the canyon, about 5 minutes from our house and so beautiful right now as things are coming to life. (And with crazy high water right now too as the snow is melting!)

Ellie enjoying a chocolate chip cookie, Landon enjoying throwing huge sticks into the water
A little exploring and puddle jumping/accidental mushy shoes
Happily sleeping Owen :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer on the way

School got out last week, so even though it doesn't actually change things for us yet (and even though it also snowed last week!) it still feels like the beginning of summer. Our park has been super busy with little kids and moms, teenagers, and college kids all enjoying these first warm days. We've been having lovely lunch break walks and mini-adventures and backyard time and picnics and happy park-going days.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

First Giggles!

We have been loving Owen's first smiles, and this week we got to hear and see his first giggles. What a delight!!
April found a ticklish spot on his neck so now we can see giggles on demand :)

(Poor Owen had been grumpy for the past little while after our family all had colds -- He seemed to be over his congestion, so I thought maybe he'd just come to a more grumpy stage of life. I finally took him to the doctor though and he did have ear infections, so now that he's starting to feel better, our sweet-as-can-be little guy is on his way back to his more calm and happy self - hooray!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

2 months

Owen's getting close to 3 months actually, but I still wanted to write down a few thoughts.

Although Owen was just about the sweetest baby I could imagine, having a two month old baby was a bit of a rough spot for me.

Somehow when Owen got to be 2 months, all of a sudden I felt very much like my 'grace period' had ended.

I started to feel anxious to have my regular body back. I always feel so thin and great right after my babies are born (lose 15 pounds in 1 week!) but of course that wears off after a while and I start to realize I have to actually work and put some major effort into getting back into shape. It's hard to be in the in between spot there where clothes don't fit right, but I'm hoping they soon will... where I'm constantly torn between wanting to be able to wear my regular jeans again but also wanting to eat those yummy treats...

Also around the same time I started to feel like I ought to be doing more. That maybe making dinner for my family wasn't just cause for a huge celebration and pat on the back for me. It seemed like my house ought to be clean, I ought to have healthy meals for my family, I ought to be playing with and working with my kids, getting started on fun projects, working in our yard, planning our vacation, catching up on past things to do, adventuring and exercising and getting back into shape...

Of course at about this time of feeling a bit overwhelmed and wanting to just speed along back to regular routines and all, sleep deprivation really began to set in.

"Motherhood was what every corny cliche promised it would be, with one glaring exception: I have yet to see a coffee mug showing a mother telling her bundle of joy, 'I would trade my spleen for another hour of sleep.' It is no wonder that sleep deprivation is a kind of torture. By the time my son was two months old, I would have confessed to killing Jimmy Hoffa if it had brought me more sleep." (From Laughing without an Accent)

So all of my good intentions of doing great things and being on top of everything and getting back into shape and being the super capable, patient, loving mommy I wanted to be... all seemed so hard [obviously!] I didn't realize on my own what the lack of sleep was doing to me until Jordan started to really help me get some extra sleep. After just one or two nights with a 4 hour stretch of sleep instead of 1 or 2 hours at a time... I could suddenly think clearly and had so much energy I felt like I could do anything...

But more importantly, I could finally start to see better all of the good things that I was already doing and focus on those instead of all of the good things I wasn't yet able to do. Yes, Jordan really did ask "should I get a fork lift for that laundry?" when he saw the pile in the closet... but the dishes were clean and the kids were fed :)

Jordan brought me a plant in the hospital after Owen was born, but after a few weeks home it was quite wilted - Kathie said, "You can only nourish so many things at once" which I think has been the best advice to me and something I am working hard to remember.

"We would do well to slow down a little, proceed a the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most."

And what a joy to spend my days nourishing this little one with his bright eyes just loving to look at mine and his happy smiles and wiggles and discoveries. And of course these two as well with all of their energy and happiness and sweetness and sillyness.

Aggie Ice Cream

Source: via Anastasia on Pinterest (I am loving Pinterest for finding cool things!)

It may not compare with the BYU Creamery, but we are doing our best to embrace Aggie Ice Cream (really not too hard to enjoy an ice cream store within walking distance from our house!) We had a trip for ice cream this week while Winslow was visiting (who could say no to an April-inspired question whispered from Ellie 'Grandpa will you take me to Aggie ice cream?) Also, last week Jordan and I took the kids to the Aggie ice cream tour. We got to go see and learn about where they make their ice cream and cheese -- see all the machines and hear about what they do, step into the crazy cold freezer where the ice cream is stored, watch a video about the ice cream process, and of course enjoy some yummy ice cream.

A few fun things --

--The guy giving us the tour was a cheese-maker and mentioned that he tasted every batch of cheese that they made before they sold it (if a batch doesn't taste so great, they turn it into some processed cheese of some kind - interesting). But, it reminded me of the commercials from high school of the "Professional Cache Valley Cheese Taster" that I remember thinking were hilarious. Now I've actually met one of those professional cheese tasters :)

-- The machine that freezes the ice cream ( I think) and mixes in the air (or maybe just one of those things) and also mixes in any extra ingredients (like oreo cookies, fruits or nuts) was built in the 50's. So interesting that they are still using the same machine that they've been using for 60 years and it still works great -- pretty cool.

-- Aggie blue mint is their most popular flavor - even more popular than vanilla. (And it is quite yummy)

A pretty fun early-summertime event!