Monday, August 22, 2016

Like The Wind

"Squeaks, you wanna go for a walk after dinner?"

As we walk around our block, past our church, past other families on evening strolls, Squeaks is impatient to reach the point at which she is released from her stroller. 

"Can we race Daddy?" 

As we approach the part of our walk where we can safely let her out, her feet start to kick, and if she wasn't buckled in, she would slide herself out from under the stroller tray keeping her in her seat. The stroller stops, Dad unbuckles her, and....SHE'S OFF!!

Like the wind! Curls bouncing, chubby little legs going as fast as she can will them, and sometimes, in times of need, need for extra speed, her arms fly behind her in an attempt to become more aerodynamic. Daddy follows close by, feigning inability to keep up.
"Out of my way Daddy!"

Little dude watches longingly from his stroller seat.
"Look how fast sister is!? Soon Little Man, soon."

She stops suddenly. "We're at a street Dad!" (The corner of the block is a good twenty yards away.)
"Not quite Love, but you can hold my hand."

Across the street and she's off again. Like the wind! Curls bouncing, chubby legs a blur. 

Another sudden stop. This time to inspect a spider web. No spider. He must be away visiting friends. Look! A yellow rose! *deep inhale* "Smells pretty."

And she's off! Wind in her hair, pink Converse pounding the sidewalk. 
"Where are the wishes?" (Dandelions.)
"It must not be the season for wishes my Love."
Disappointed pause, then again, off like the wind!
But wait! There! A single wish in our yard!
We're home. Squeaks blows her wish, and like the wind, she's off to bath and bed time.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Wanna Play School?!

I've known I wanted to homeschool my children since I was in high school. I started pinning homeschool related articles almost as soon as I found out Pinterest existed. And now it's beginning. Sorta.

Squeaks is only just two and a half. No matter how excited I am to start the homeschool process I don't want to rush her. Babies don't keep, as they say, and I don't want to organize her childhood away. No one said learning can't be fun though! Although we aren't on a structured homeschool plan yet, we work a little light learnin' in whenever we can. 

Reading together has always been at the top of our fun and educational activities list. This kid devours books. One of the many reasons I became an Usborne consultant. I already mentioned my personal rule for her reading habits, but we have really upped the bookage in the last few months. I'll read to her multiple times a day and Josh will read to her 20-30 minutes every night too. Her vocabulary amazes me.

In addition to reading, I've added a morning activity similar to what a preschool teacher would call "circle time". We gather at her "Day Board" and discuss the day of the week, month, year, season, that day's activity, her mood/emotions, and the letter of the alphabet we're focusing on (got ours from the Target dollar section). This all takes maybe ten minutes. Super simple, she enjoys erasing the previous days info and placing the magnets in their correct spots, and then she's off to play as she wishes.

Later on in the day we might add a worksheet or coloring page printed from the AWESOME Bible ABCs curriculum I found on The Crafty Classroom. For the worksheets I use these dry erase pockets so they can be reused over and over. Perfect since homeschooling can get a bit pricey in the printer ink department. Learning the proper way to hold a pen/pencil is going really well too, thanks to these pen control worksheets I found on Teachers Pay Teachers. I cut them up and laminated them (love my laminator!) so they're dry erase now! Squeaks likes using all the different colored dry erase markers. She also LOVES her Usborne Wipe-Clean books. They're supper sturdy, come with a dry erase pen, wipe clean with a tissue, and are fantastic for long car rides, waiting at restaurants, etc.
I got excited about her doing so well, which got her excited, which made that last little "a" a little crazy. Haha!
Games and other creative activities are fun to add too. Painting has been a favorite lately. We had loads of fun painting fireworks over Fourth of July, and cutting an apple in half (for the letter A) made for a fun stamping project.

As far as games, Squeaks LOVES playing Alphabet Erase. I write the whole alphabet, in all different colors, randomly on her dry-erase board (her easel is from Target and it's fantastic), give her a stack of alphabet flash cards, and hand her a q-tip. As she goes through the flash cards she has to find the matching letter on her board and then erase it with the q-tip. This works on color recognition, letter recognition, and fine motor skills all at ones! Woohoo! Another game I'm working on is Alphabet Fishing. Fish cut out on my Cricut with letters written on them and paperclips attached, a "fishing pole" (stick, string, and magnet), and a laundry basket "boat" are going to make for a good time! Haven't gotten to play this one yet with little brother crawling around ready to devour my alphabet fish, but the pieces are ready to go when we can get a good long nap out of him.

So you see, not a ton of structure yet, but we learn as we play. And I'm having a ton of fun preparing for the structured part. Laminating machines and sheet protectors just make my heart sing. What can I say!?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

As Of Yesterday...

We are officially exactly one month way from Little Dude's first birthday! 

Monthly pictures were not part of Squeaks plan for her day yesterday. She was not feelin' it. At all. I kinda made her do it anyway though. I just love these monthly pictures. Getting to compare them to months past and see how much my littles have grown. She warmed up to it near the end and finally gave me a smile. 
I've started planning LD's first birthday party. An "Everything That Moves" party fits him so well. Planes, trains, boats, trucks; if it moves he loves it!! I'm particularly proud of the invites I made (a skill, by the way, I am happy to share with others. Email for prices on custom invites, printables, thank you cards, etc.). Bold primary colors and decorations made by yours truly. It's gonna be a fun day! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Little Days Are Big

Yet again I find myself catching up. So many things to write about, so many pictures to share.

Everyday Squeaks says something or does something new and totally blows my mind. And at this point, Little Dude seems bigger and faster after every nap.

The only thing I can do at this point to chronicle all these big little days going by so quickly is to share at rapid-fire speed. So hold on to your socks...

 The dastardly Squeaks stole Mr. Potato Head's mustache!
Beautiful girl! She finally let me put pigtails in her hair...and hasn't let me do it again since.
 My favorite picture of Little Dude EVER! Taken on a random weekday during Squeaks nap. My beautiful blue-eyed boy.
 Father's Day. I totally failed this year. No real gift, but his arms are still full. He's so good to us!
 I still can't believe I'm their mom. Mothers Day.
 Squeaks can't get enough of the "twirly slide" at the park near our house. She yells "Hi twirly slide!" from the backseat every time we drive past it.
Swimming at Nana and Papa's house.
The first time I caught them actually playing together! Made me want to cry for joy.
She loves searching for rollie-pollies in our backyard.
 Her favorite thing to do an Gaga and Grampy's house is smell, taste, and discuss the spices on my mom's spice rack. She has quite the refined palate.
 Just couldn't make it through lunch.
If he can reach it, he's into it. This kid is everywhere!
He has mastered the sippy-cup. 
See!? Into everything!
She LOVED getting to sit in a firetruck at our library's story time a few weeks ago! As we were leaving she said "Bye firetruck! I love you all my life!" Too much...

You see, the little days are big. Full of memories and never boring. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One Month Away?!

Well, here we are, a little over a month from Little Dude's FIRST BIRTHDAY!! Squeaks is officially two and a half!! did this happen!? So much has happened and I feel like I want to try and remember it all. My sleep deprived mamma brain (yep, LD still isn't sleeping through the night) isn't going to let me try and describe the past few months the way I'd like. Nothing earth-shattering, but still, a lot has happened in our little world. For now I'll update you with Little Dude's monthly pictures with Squeaks. These are always my favorites. But coming soon, updates on  recent family vacations, general growing-up "did-my-kid-really-just-say-that?!" stories, my ever growing love for Usborne Books, homeschool plans for Squeaks, and hopes for the future.

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