Bouncing Around The Room

Sometimes you just have to let them be crazy.

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Because they’re going to do it anyway.  You may as well join in!

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Parenting Survival 101.

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Step, Hop & Read!

After rereading my 15 awesome literacy ideas I shared last month, I knew that there were definitely one or two that could help Em with some sight words that are causing her a bit of trouble.  The, there, then, they all seem to blend together, as do where, when, and what.  I know she just sees the first two letters and takes a guess.  I thought maybe doing a little fun sight word practice–with a splash of moving around–might motivate her to remember a word or two.  So we took an old favorite literacy activity and improved it, and created Step, Hop, Read!

Step, Hop, Read @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Instead of just drilling Em on sight words, I find it’s much more effective to get her body involved.  So I took those tricky words and wrote them on construction paper hearts (since we were still excited about Valentine’s Day).  Then I also wrote the alphabet so Little H could get in on the fun.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We scattered them across the floor, and I’d call out a letter for Little H and a word for Em, then tell them how to get there.  Hop to the letter M!  Skip to the word “where”!  The gross motor element really made them laugh and encouraged them to play together and for longer than I would have thought.

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Then they’d wait on their word or letter for the next instructions.  Learning patience is a great skill for this age, too!

Em was happy to help her sister when she needed a helping hand.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

But then Little H made the predicable move of stealing all of the purple hearts, regardless of what was written on them, because purple is her favorite.  When she started hoarding the hearts, I knew the game was over.  Attention span spent.  Back to H’s favorite pastime–sorting.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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I was finally able to extricate the words from Little H and left her to happily organize her heart alphabet.  Em and I gave her sight words one last go.

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This time, playing hopscotch!  She would yell the word and then hop over them.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We love to read, and jump, and skip, and play, and it shows!

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Now it’s your turn to get reading.  Hop to it!

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Two Too Soon

I have no words.  My baby is two today.

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I am too sentimental right now to write anything more than overflowing emotional cliches.  I just want to look at her and marvel that it has been two years that she has been mine, ours, and be grateful we are lucky enough to have her.

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She loves balloons, Paw Patrol, playing with her brother and sister, playing on the mountain outside of school with her friends (“Bye, friends!”), Word World, her Binkie and two blankies, strawberries, snuggling, reading, and all of her family.

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Her first haircut is looming–we need to take care of her mullet–and we’ll start potty training as soon as it’s warm.  When she came downstairs this morning and saw her decorations, the first thing she said was, “Awesome!”  Where did my baby go?

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Growing up is bittersweet, but watching you learn and grow has been a joy.  We love you so much, Little H.  Happiest of birthdays to my baby girl!

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Sniff Sniff Sniffing

One of those amazing things about photography is how, ten years from now, I hope that I can look at these photos and remember Little H and her oh-so-strange sleepy habits.  She is 100% a Blankie sniffer. Whenever I wash it, she sniffs it as soon as it comes out of the dryer, giving it her olfactory seal of approval.  That is funny enough, but nothing compares to when she is sleepy.  When she gets tired, Blankie goes right up to her nose and she sniff sniff sniffs nonstop.

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She does a weird humming thing, too, like, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” all the while sniff sniff sniffing.

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When she is really, really tired, she will often take the corner and run it between her fingers, or even sometimes rub it against her eye.  Like her eyeball.  I have no photos of that because I think it is super gross.  I will just remember it fondly through my words, not my images.

She is one sweet little baby, who just so happens to turn two tomorrow.

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I never ever want to forget anything about Little H that makes her adorably her.  I love you, little Blankie Sniffer.

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So Silly

This guy thinks he is sooooo funny.

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Actually, he is.

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He makes up nonsense words with our foam letters in the bathtub, and let’s just say, watching him pronounce them is worth the price of admission.

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Since he started this game, bathtub struggles seem to be lessening, with the only problems being who will make up a ridiculous word next, and the fact Mommy has to stop laughing and taking their photographs long enough to actually get their butts out of the bath!

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The most joyful and best things in this life are truly the simplest.  Don’t forget to relish the hilarity in the everyday!

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Roll-A-Rainbow Game!

When Jax and Em were the same age as Em and Little H are now, I came across a really “sweet” game that helped them learn their numbers as well as colors, plus kept in the whole rainbow theme I like to celebrate in March.  Rainbows help me see the light at the end of this wintery tunnel, and to remember that March signifies the beginning of spring, no matter how much snow covers our sleeping flower beds!  So imagine my delight when I discovered that I had saved the “game board” from three years ago and had everything I needed to play with my three!

Roll-A-Rainbow Game @ Rub Some Dirt On It

You can see my detailed instructions for making the game board here, but I basically traced quarters on a piece of card stock in a “rainbow” formation (as best I could).  Then I colored them in rainbow order. I also made a list of which color matched a corresponding number which will be rolled by the kids on dice.

Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It

If they roll a 1, they get to put a red M & M on one of the red circles.  If they roll a 2, an orange, etc.  6 means you can put a color of your choice on the rainbow (helps if one color is dominating) or, if the kids can’t handle the delayed gratification, they can eat a color of their choice!

Next, I took M & Ms (skittles, conversation hearts, Froot Loops, etc. would all work, too) and organized them by color.

Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The kids, at this point, were chomping at the bit and literally salivating.

Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Finally! You are ready to play!  Give the kids each some dice (be careful of the choking hazard) and let the good times roll!

Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I love getting ready for spring this way!  Lots of colors, high spirits, and fun for everyone.  Life is sweet!

And if you like rainbow art and activities, too, there are lots more where that came from!

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A Typical Day

A typical day starts with one quick show in the morning so Mommy can have 22 minutes to shower/get dressed/eat in peace.  We don’t always use fancy chairs but I’m open to anything that gets me an extra minute or two.

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Then, on a typical day when Jax is home from school, the kids play together nicely for a while, but then there is inevitably bickering and disagreements about who gets to play with which Paw Patrol pup and whose turn it is to go first in a board game.  So after a while they go their separate ways.

Jax will usually do something Lego-related: building or playing with his creations, or reading the Lego Club magazine that comes in the mail (or the back copies we sometimes “borrow” from the library).  He becomes very entranced.

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He’s stuck somewhere between big and little.  I think seven is the breaking point to being a “kid,” not so much the baby or toddler or preschooler I remember at all.  I savor his simple innocence, whenever I can.  I know he’ll be so much bigger too soon.

Little H is very into her play kitchen and tea parties, complete with cloth napkins and place mats.  She’s not too picky about her companions, and is very content with a good cup of tea.

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And Em undoubtedly will try to stay in her pajamas for as long as possible.

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And then do something creative, like coloring, cutting, hole punching, stamping.  She is a fine motor phenomenon, my girl.

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And sassy, too!

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So, typically, I have it pretty good. Yes, sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out or cry or take a nap, but on the whole, they’re really great kids.  No one else I’d rather be snowed in with than them!

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