Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Year, New Quotes

"Mama, I didn't have any dreams last night... just thinks." ~ Mia (January 9, 2012)

While looking at baby word book with Logan, he points to a picture of green grapes and says, "Grapes good. Purple grapes good, too." Then he saw the picture of a guinea pig, which he doesn't know the word for so he said, "Wonder Pet animal... Lenny!" (January 19, 2012)

"Ladybug break apart. Get another one." ~ Logan (January 20, 2012)
Mia had found the "ladybug" inside the house and wanted to keep it for a pet. I say "ladybug" because I figure it was one of those Asian beetles. Anyway, I didn't have the heart to tell him that he had killed it, and I couldn't simply get him a new one.

Logan: "More Rice Krispies."
Me: "I haven't heard any polite words."
Logan: "Polite words."
Me: {Laughing} "No, what's the 'magic' word that gets you what you want?"
Logan: "Rice Krispies!"  (January 25, 2012)

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Girl and Her (Very Tolerant) Dog

{Ritzy dressed as Belle}

{And here she is as Snow White.}

{I swear this dog seems to enjoy dressing like a princess!}

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frosty Friends Recycled Craft

{Some frosty new friends made by Mia, Age 4}
Mia and I almost had our entire snow family made earlier today when Logan decided that the stacks of snowballs were like big blocks and he "boomed" them all down. So, once he was napping, I came up with a snowman craft for her to do (that should last a bit longer than our original snowmen). I had been wanting to do something with these plastic containers for months, anyway.

Materials for Snowman:
  • plastic container (We used toddler puffs container.) 
  • felt 
  • scissors 
  • pom poms 
  • hot glue gun (adult use only)
  • corkscrew pasta 
  • black permanent marker 
  • 2 black bottle caps (ours are Powerade)
  • 1 black jar lid (from a container of peanuts)
Materials for Snowlady:
  • plastic container (We used a toddler puffs container.)
  • felt
  • scissors
  • pom poms
  • hot glue gun (adult use only)
  • corkscrew pasta
  • black permanent marker
  • cardboard ribbon spool
  • large pom pom
  • tape 
  • optional materials: buttons, ribbon, pipe cleaners, fabric flowers
Basic Snowman Directions:
  1. Cut a strip of felt for the scarf and glue it around the top indentation of your clean, dry plastic container. Tie a know and cut fringe on each end. (Tip: If your felt isn't long enough, cut a second strip, tie a knot, and glue it onto the first band of felt.) If you don't have felt, ribbon or pipe cleaners would work.
  2. Place two dots of glue on the top section of the plastic container and adhere 2 pom poms for eyes. Any color will work. (Tip: If you don't have pom poms, buttons would work. Or you could draw eyes with a permanent marker.)
  3.  Place a dot of glue beneath the eyes and adhere a piece of corkscrew pasta for the carrot nose. (Tip: You can dye your pasta first. Or, if you prefer, use an orange pom pom, button, or a small piece of orange construction paper rolled into a cone.)
  4.  Draw a mouth on the snowman face using a permanent black marker.
  5.  Place three dots of glue down the middle of the snowman body and adhere pom poms. You could also use buttons or draw them on with a permanent marker.   
How to Make a Snowman Hat:
  1. Run a line of hot glue along the bottom edge of a black jar lid. Press down onto the top edge of the snowman.
  2. Place glue on the top of one black bottle cap and press down on top of the lid.
  3. Run glue along the bottom edge of a second black bottle cap. Press cap down so that it lines up with the bottom edge of the first bottle cap.
How to Make a Snowlady Hat:
  1. Pull one cardboard circle off of an empty ribbon spool. (Tip: If you don't have a ribbon spool, you can cut a circle from a cereal box. You will also need to cut a hole in the center.)
  2. Pull a large pom pom partially through the center hole. Secure the back with some tape.
  3. Cut a square of felt slightly larger than the cardboard circle.
  4. Run a line of glue around the cardboard (on the side with the tape). Cover the top side with the felt, wrap the edges around the underside and press down onto the glue. Add extra glue as needed.
  5. Decorate the hat as desired. We used a gold pipe cleaner, twisted at the end to secure it, and then glued on a fabric rose. 
  6. Finally, line the top edge of the plastic container with hot glue, and press the hat on top.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes!

I have had mixed feelings since Logan was dismissed from Early On services yesterday. In fact, I couldn't even finish writing this yesterday because it was too fresh, and I needed time to process everything that has happened recently. On December 15, his speech pathologist, Ms. Pam evaluated him. I was absolutely floored by the results which showed that he had the receptive language of a 3 year, 9 month old child and the expressive language of a 2 year, 5 month child. He was 2 years, 3 and 1/2 months at the time. I know this is a fantastic thing, that in the course of one year, he went from having NO language to being ahead for his age! But still I felt sad. I should have seen the dismissal coming, and it somehow caught me off guard. Ms. Pam was amazed by his progress, but she said we would continue to work his articulation and his low muscle tone, so I thought that he would continue with Early On.

However, his teacher, Ms. Michelle came yesterday and gave him an overall evaluation to see if he had any delays since his speech was no longer a qualifying area. She was so impressed by his skills, she decided to give him the 30-36 month portion of the evaluation even though it's slightly ahead of his chronological age. He aced it. He followed directions to build a three cube structure and was able to lace beads (and continue to pull the cord all the way through, which she said usually stumps the kids she evaluates.) The longer I sat and watched him, the sillier I felt for being concerned that he would no longer get services. He doesn't need them anymore.

I went to bed feeling kind of guilty for wanting him to still have the help, considering that I always knew it was short term and that eventually he would catch up in speech. I had just assumed he was going to age out of the program when he turned 3. We are so blessed that he has made incredible gains which led to the early dismissal. Meanwhile, there are lots of other parents whose kids are going through Early On, and while they will make some progress, many of them are living with disabilities that can't be outgrown.

This morning, I began to wonder if my sadness was caused by a sense of loss for myself. I would no longer have people coming to the house who help me be a better parent, and I would no longer get to take Logan to weekly playgroups where we all get to interact with others. I realized that I feel lonely being a stay-at-home mom, and this was a good outlet for me, not just for Logan. As the day has progressed, I've tried to really focus on the positives, the amazing progress that Logan has made.

When I contacted Early On just over a year ago I did so because I was a concerned parent. I was thrilled when he qualified for services and I made sure he participated in as many Early On activities as we were able to over the past year. I knew I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom because it gave me the flexibility to make our schedule to fit our needs. This was my gift to my son, and as it turns out, it was also my gift to myself. This experience has made me a better mommy. Now, I am able to recognize his awesome achievement, and that I played a part in it. Now I realize that I can't waste time mourning over a perceived loss. It's not about me; it's about Logan. And there is no real loss, only his great gains in speech development. Thank you, Lord, for providing me with some fresh perspective, and the desire to celebrate his success.

Michelle reminded me that his goal was to begin to use language to express his wants and needs. Obviously, he achieved that and more. He makes his wants and needs very clear, ("You help me.") and he even does so with humor and personality. His favorite catch phrases of the moment are "more again," "no like it," and "oh man!" the last of which cracks everyone up. She wanted him to have the "p," "b," and "m" sounds, and he knows those for sure. Not only does he recognize that adding "s" to a word means there is more than one, and he knows how to add "ing" to verbs, but he is having conversations with us all of a sudden. He's engaged in the world and interacts more with people instead of just watching. In the beginning he would just get frustrated when we didn't know what he wanted but he didn't seem to want to tell us. Michelle said, "Remember how hard we had to work to get him to say 'cup'?" It was great having him at playgroup to serve as a model to others, Michelle told me, but she questioned what he was getting out of it. He was playing in an interactive way she noticed, not in parallel play, which is typical at his age. She added that he takes pride in his accomplishments, takes turns, and is cooperative. I am so proud of my little man.

Logan can say his own name now, and fairly clearly. He has "Mia" down perfectly, and I remember when he first started trying to say her name, he pronounced it "Mya." He even says "Daddy" correctly, which had been Brett's ongoing frustration (in a joking way) of first being called nothing at all, and then "Mama" and then "Gaggy1 to 10. Then words were garbled so I wouldn't have recognized them out of context, but he definitely can count. This afternoon when we were getting ready to go outside to play in the fresh snow Logan told me "Boots on first." I suggested, "No. You have to get dressed first. That's not going to work very well." He insisted, "Yes. Work good." Of course, he eventually agreed that snow pants had to go on before boots, but the fact that we had this exchange was monumental to me. When he was ready to come inside he said his reason was "snow on us." And before his nap he informed me, "Hitting not nice... Bad Mia!" He was ratting her out for an earlier infraction, which means we had all better be on our toes since we now have a little chatterbox in the family. It's really amazing what a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In Between a Rock and ... a Pillowcase?

This morning, we had a rousing game of Hide and Seek, and I've decided that I am a fantastic "hider." If you are looking for a place to hide from your kids, it turns out that the bathtub is perfect. I just sat on the edge inside of the shower curtain and it took them awhile to find me. Note to self: I may need to try that every now and then when I just need some time to myself.

Then, at some point when it was my turn to be the "seeker," my cell phone rang. I actually didn't hear it since I was upstairs, but Mia yelled to me, "Mom, your phone is ringing!" She made me feel like it was urgent, so I dropped my counting and found my phone on the kitchen counter. Of course, I missed the call, but it was no biggie since it was Brett. I knew he wasn't feeling well, so I called him back (although now I can't even recall what we discussed). After chatting for a couple of minutes, I realized that I had better check on the kids and told him that I needed to go "before they got into too much trouble." Note that I was already sensing that I was in for a big surprise...

After heading upstairs, I discovered that my little monkeys had climbed up onto the third shelf in the linen closet. Oh no, not the first or second, but the third shelf. These children do not mess around. I am not even sure how they managed it. Obviously, they were determined, and perhaps they are even more awesome at this game than their mama. It's too bad that Hide and Seek isn't an Olympic event because they have such natural talent for getting into "tight spots."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Discriminating Taste

Today I took Logan shopping for new shoes. It was an unsuccessful mission, however, as we only made it to one store: Walmart. I don't know why I never saw it before, but their selection of boys' shoes is much, much smaller than their girls' shoe selection, which I am sure is the case with everything kids wear at pretty much every store on the planet. Plus, I realized the quality is just not good enough to withstand the little man's activity level these days. I was feeling a bit frustrated when he looked up at me and asked, hopefully, "Light up?" I told him that of the two pairs of sneakers they had to chose from, neither one lit up. He didn't respond; he just walked away. Clearly, Walmart's shoes didn't make the cut for him. His disappointment was short-lived, though. Later in the day, he was dancing happily around the kitchen wearing Mama's boots. Obviously, he has discriminating taste.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Tree Project

{Winter Trees by Mia, Age 4}
Currently, there is no snow to speak of, which aside from making us Michiganders feel that global warming is of real concern, means that there is little craft inspiration lately. However, there have been some brilliant sunrises and sunsets in recent days, and this reminds me of an art project I did in elementary school. It's a simple idea, and the end result is very striking. (Unfortunately, the photo doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.)

  • white paper
  • watercolor paints
  • paintbrushes
  • black marker
  • newspaper (optional)

1) Protect work surface with newspaper if desired. Then fill your paper with watercolor paints. 
2) Using a black marker, draw a winter (deciduous) tree or trees.
3) Display your winter tree project for some extra beauty on these dreary winter days.

  • For paint colors, I would suggest pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and blues since these are colors you often see in the sky at sunrise or sunset. Set aside and allow paint to dry completely.  
  • While watercolor paper is of course the preferred paper to use with watercolor paints, any paper will work, although thicker papers stand up better. 
  • We used an 8" x 8" scrapbook page. They came with a scrapbook and since I use decorative papers for my scrapbook pages, I save the plain white ones for kids' art projects. (The 12" x 12" size scrapbook paper fits nicely into the photo frames made for records, by the way.) 
  • You could also use markers with different widths of tips to get various sized branches. 
  • Before doing this project, I had Mia look out the window at our trees and pointed out how the trunk is widest at the base and then the branches get narrower as they get higher and higher up the tree. I think she understood, but she ended up frustrated because she couldn't draw them as well as she would have liked. Which is probably why this project was originally done when I was about 10, not 4.