Noah's Ark

Look: We played with stuffed animals today. I cleared out their stuffed animal basket and put G inside. One by one I took each animal and made its noise then put it in the basket. C joined right in when she heard the animal sounds. G would set his eyes on one animal, then slowly move his hands to reach it. Once he got the animal in his hot little hands he'd use all his might to pull it right to his...mouth. Some animals tasted good, some didn't (the hairier ones = funny faces).
Learn: G is developing so fast! A few weeks ago he had trouble focusing and getting something with his hands...now he can get it and eat it! I also learned I need to learn the noises that a caterpillar and turtle make...does a pink spotted dog say "wuff, wuff" ? Today I also realized that C thinks some of the animals are only for her. She would say "my" and take them from G. One time out later, she was still trying to get any animal that G had...ug!
Love: I loved doing something that G would enjoy. His concentration face is wonderful and I"m impressed by his focus on getting what he wants. I loved Noah's ark!


Anything for a laugh

Look: Today we spent the day trying to find out what makes G laugh. He is in the stage now where he squeals, grunts and giggles. In the process of trying to get him laughing C had a ton of fun too. We made silly faces (first in the mirror, then at each other). There was a dance party at some point. Story time was using funny voices and being wacky. Together we made all kinds of sounds. It was really fun. I didn't try to get the smiles on camera, just wanted to enjoy them myself (I'm greedy). But I did get one back and forth from dinner on a short video. It may sound like they are both screaming, but just ask Chris...they were using shrill laughter and talk to amuse each other.
Learn: Simply put, today I learned that laughter is the best medicine. If you're ever having a gloomy day, just get your kiddos to crack up and let yourself enjoy it. You'll be cheered up at least for a little while.
Love: I love the interaction (I know I sound like a broken record) between C and G. Their adorable little faces and cute little laughs are burned in my memory...how fun!



Look: We decided to put up our tree before Thanksgiving. Last year we didn't end up getting the tree up at all because of some construction going on in our home...so this year we are overcompensating. Anyhow G took turns on Mommy and Daddy's lap while the other parent decorated with C. She only could get the hang of putting on the wooden candy canes, but she did say "ahhh" a lot about the lights.

Learn: The big thing I learned is that traditions have to start young. Little ones have no idea why we're hanging things on a tree when its cold outside. But doing it year after year will make it a tradition they will come to enjoy. Also, we realized today breakable objects up high, non breakable objects low...we're rookies!

Love: After we finished, we had Xmas music cranking and C took two of the wooden candy canes (yes the same ones she had placed) and danced around the room shaking them in the air. I thought to myself , this is what holiday seasons are about...the children.


Look: Saturday was slide day. It is really cold out this weekend. So we brought C's slide into the family room. First she used it as a traditional slide. Up the ladder, down the slide and repeat! Or if you know toddlers...repeat, repeat, repeat. G even went down a few times with my help. Then after a while we used it as a ball rolling ramp. She'd let the ball go at the top, watch it roll and run to get the ball. G looked like he was watching a tennis match. He tracked the ball almost every time, then watched C run back to do it again.

Learn: If you look at a traditional toy as something else it can double your fun. Also bringing outdoor toys in or vice versa can really help switch it up. G. is now in the phase of loving watching his big sis play. This activity really had him engaged too. Today's activity of having an outdoor toy do double duty has me inspired to look at the things in our house from a fresh new perspective.

Love: C and G love it when I cheer for something. Their eyes light up, a smile spread across their cute little faces and C usually claps up a storm while hopping around (this is awesome...I'll have to get a video soon). So today I spent much of our special time clapping for sliding or rolling and this made it twice as fun. I also love that we didn't turn on the tv or computer or anything for hours this morning and just played with the slide!


Rolling and Sorting

Look: We have 2 days worth of fun! G learned to roll yesterday (thus the video). So we spent most of the day on the floor, rolling and rolling and rolling and rolling and ...you get the idea. Yesterday it was all about G. C and I cheered for him, rolled with him and had a happy time doing it! Today we played a sorting game with our bins and toys. We lined up four colored bins and I collected toys. Then C picked one toy out at a time to put in the bins.

Learn: As much as I tried to teach G to roll, he did it when he was good and ready. This was an excellent lesson for this over zealous mother. Today I learned that C has no idea how to sort or I should say...she sorts her own way. I watched for patterns, colors, shapes...nothing. It was just putting objects in the bins however she wanted. What do I expect for an almost 19 month old! Reguardless of the fact that I am not really "teaching" my kids anything, I am sure learning a ton from watching and playing with them.

Love: G rolling is exciting. He thinks it is, C thinks it is and so do I. I love that he is getting big! Also today I loved learning that C thinks in her own way, she wasn't about to conform and put things of similar colors into buckets....she did it her way....and for that I love her even more than I did before!


Fun in the Sink

Look: Today I filled up our sink with warm water, soap and C's play dishes. She spent over 30 minutes playing with bubbles, water and the toys. G. started out in his exersaucer but then wanted in on the action, so I moved him to the counter (don't worry I never moved from his side.) Besides spilling some tea cups full of water, this was a very clean activity.
Learn: C really loves to play in the tub. She also loves her water/sand table, so I knew this would be a hit. Luckily I had learned before not to let her wear regular clothes, she's wearing her rash shirt. The major thing I learned was that this was so fun, it was too hard to stop...C was quite upset when the water went down the drain.
Love: I love watching C play and transfer bubbles and water from container to container. She was so cute. The best part was when G got to the counter she kept trying to show him the bubbles....in the process she was spilling everywhere.


Copy Me

Look: The game today came naturally, we played a copying game. I copied Chelsea making animal sounds, dancing and some playing. She copied me with some words, actions and singing. Then we both tried to copy Gavin. In the picture we were all doing "tummy time" with G. We also copied his noises while he was in the exersaucer.
Learn: Copying is fun! It can also turn around the attitude of my one year old quick. She was getting a bit fussy when I started the game, but within a short time she was giggling and enjoying it. I was surprised how quickly she caught on and was copying G and I. Although G didn't really understand, today I noticed how alert he is. He really is starting to pay attention to C.
Love: I loved watching G's face light up when he was playing with C. Its the best feeling and at one point I shed a few happy tears. Being a mom is great and being a mom to siblings is wonderful!



Look: Today we made an apple pie and some mini cherry pies. We're testing
out milk and egg free recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was feeling brave so I let C help. All we had to do was add 2 ingredients to the pie mix. C mixed and mixed while I poured. Then we used our hands to press it into the pans. This part was very fun for her until she decided to pop a big ball of nasty dough into her mouth. I had to reach in her mouth to get it and she was rather upset. We finished our crusts, added canned filling and put them into the oven (i did that part, not C). After that she ran to the chair she was standing on and wanted more...but there was nothing left to make, so she was very sad!
Learn: If I have an easy recipe or I do the correct prep work, she can help. By help I don't mean it will be easier, but it will be more fun for both of us. I also learned to always read the labels...our crust was labeled milk and egg free, but also gluten free which made it a bit gritty and weird (sorry aunt june and uncle ron).
Love: I loved the way C followed directions, I am so proud of her. It was fun to try this sort of thing with her. She loved helping and when she saw Daddy eating some she was really excited and walked over to talk to his bowl of pie! This day is a really nice memory and a glimpse of the fun I have to look forward to!


Shoes and Hats

Look: Today we played dress up with shoes and hats. So far C only loves to carry my shoes, especially the slingbacks..they are like tiny purses to her! But a few days ago I realized it might be a good challenge for balance while walking. She did great in my ballet flats and her bots, but she hated trying my sneakers. G only tried the sneaks and is looking very dapper. Then it was onto hats. We tried on tons of types and looked in the mirror.
Learn: C loves to look in mirrors! Each time she would get a new hat on, she'd rush to the mirror to check herself out. She prefers to wear baseball hats backwards. When it was G's turn she insisted on helping me by covering his entire face with the hats, then lifting it up and saying "Hi" to him. He was not amused and within a few rounds of this was crying. Luckily I got a wide eyed picture before that.
Love: Whenever we're up in the master bedroom, Chelsea usually entertains herself while I get ready. She carries shoes, tries on hats and brings me all the things I don't need (moms with toddlers understand this, I'm sure). So today I loved being part of it! It was also really fun to watch her get excited that G had hats and shoes on. She didn't stop saying "shuuuuus" the whole time we were playing. My favorite thing about today was watching C look in the mirror.


Making a Menu

Look: We have an adorable little kitchen down in our family room. Recently I ordered some cool wood food for C to pretend with in her kitchen. She loves it! She spends a big chunk of her day running food back and forth to G and I. At snack time she always ask for more then sneaks it into her kitchen. So today we started making some menus. While G was napping, we had a very fun time playing in the kitchen. We set up the table with plates and took different pictures of the food. I think C thought it was weird that I wasn't aiming the camera at her for a change. Then after her nap time she colored a piece of cardboard that will become her menus. We ran out of time to finish, so I'll post pictures later.
Learn: I learn so much every time I watch C play in her kitchen. Today was no exception. Kids are so observant, they watch and absorb everything you do. C put her little wooden food into different dishes and pots and put them in and out of the oven and cupboard and on the burners. At one point she announced that it was "hot" and proceeded to blow on her food (so cute). Also she mimics me when I take pictures by putting fingers near her eyes and making a clicking noise (also so cute).
Love: I love that at 18 months my daughter already knows how to pretend. She loves when I sit right in the kitchen with her and play. C becomes absolutely thrilled when I ask for some food and runs happily to the kitchen to get it. Its a delight to watch her. I can't wait until G is big enough to play too, the fun we will all have.


Jello, Sand and Bubbles

Look: "There is always room for Jello" is a saying I heard my grandfather say throughout my childhood. So when I came across the recipe for jigglers made with juice I thought this would be so much fun. I cut a few stars with theone cookie cutter I own, then made balls with my mellon baller. C. played with them for several minutes, giggling at the consistency and stickiness. Then I popped one in my mouth, she looked at me in disbelief. She ate a few as well. She doesn't seem to care for Jello much. But she did spend a few minutes afterward lifting chunks of star into the air and shaking them like crazy.
Learn: My daughter loves to play with food. Jello is super sticky. The activities I'm planning aren't long enough. Today we ventured outside for sand and bubble time too. G sat mesmerized by our bubble machine while C methodically poured sand from container to container. When it got cold G and I went inside and C felt thrilled to be outside by herself (we were 5 feet away watching inside the door). She is getting to be independent, how great!
Love: I loved seeing C's face when I ate the jello, she was shocked. She liked the special snack and loved being a big girl on her own, even if it was only a few mere minutes. And G....he's easy, he loves bubbles!


A book nest

Look: It is really cold out today. More frigid than it has been in a while. Feels like a good day for snuggling with some cutie pies. So this afternoon we mixed it up and made a new configuration in the couch. It had three sides of deep pillows and felt sort of like a nest. G, C and I laid in it reading books. At first G. liked laying against the pillows and wiggling himself down the edges. His sister really thought it was a new couch. She liked bouncing and kicking the pillows. C was even throwing her arms behind her head as if to say "how relaxing!"

Learn: Today's fun thing was really simple. All I needed to do was rearrange a few pillows and chairs...oh, ya...and pick up some old Kixx from under the couch (ewwww!). I think its fun to make old stuff seem new for C and G. It was neat to see her eyes grow wide after nap when she saw the double wide cushions. After reading with the kids we made the couch into a fort using some sheets. Its great to know that on a cold day I can do some simple things and make the day more exciting. I will definitely use our sectional again as a play thing!
Love: I loved being in sweatpants and cuddling with my babies. They loved reading the books. G. looked intently at the brightly colored pages and did a little giggling when under the sheets. I think C loved the fort, more than reading. She also loved having all of us (Daddy too) laying next to one another under the sheet. Book nests are a great idea!
Got this idea from my Gymboree 365 idea book.


Bag for Grandma

Look: Today C. used some paint brushes and puffy paint to make an awesome reusable bag for Grandma. Grandma is coming to babysit tomorrow and we wanted to make something nice as a thank you. C. began by using one brush and gently swiping the paint around. Then after a little while she began saying "more, more" and demanding more paint. By the end she was using two brushes and really getting into it.
Learn: Watching my 18 month old paint taught me that we are all born with a creative instinct. She knew just how to swirl the paint and where to spread her colors. But I think if I let her she would have covered every inch! I also learned to have extra paper and projects to do when painting because the bags only took a few minutes.
Love: I love that C. felt super special. She was so proud that when a visitor came over she had to show her the bags she had made. Another thing to love is that Grandma certainly will go nuts for the bag!


Why a blog?

How lucky can one person be? As a stay at home mom, I feel so lucky to have this time with my children. Yet, in the past few months I've found myself getting caught up in other things. It's so easy to get sucked into a soap opera or a good talk show. When gabbing with a girlfriend, a minute easily turns to twenty. Between internet shopping, baking, my favorite magazines and cleaning the house...I lost track of the important things, my two wonderful children. In order to refocus and keep myself on track, I've decided to start a blog.
My goal is to do one fun thing with the kids each day. Don't think I'm an awful mom, I mean do one thing in addition to those things we're already doing like story hour, gymboree, snacktime and playtime. Another goal is to be completely present during this part of the day. I want to observe their reactions, enjoy the time with them and grow from this experience.