Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Helper

Our computer is dead for the time being, so I'm borrowing one to get a few posts up. Yesterday morning after we had just finished up breakfast, I ran upstairs to grab something. Upon my return I found Emma "helping" Will finish his breakfast.

She had climbed up in my chair, grabbed the bowl of oatmeal from the center of the table (and so probably climbed on the table to get it), and was spoon it near Will's mouth. Despite the appearance of him eating the oatmeal in this picture...
most of her bites ended up on the floor (look closely, you can see it on the floor!). She thrust a spoonful toward Will and the two of them would giggle at each other. Then Will would grab the bite with his hand and throw it on the floor. More giggles would (naturally) ensue.

Despite the mess (and there was quite a mess), I'm glad I grabbed the camera instead of just shooing her away and cleaning things up. Emma is a compassionate and caring girl, and wants to help me with everything. Will adores her and thinks she is hilarious. I quite agree.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Signing

Will recently started signing milk, putting his "words" at three...more, eat, and now milk. Funny how they all involve eating, huh?

Watching Emma and Will both learn how to communicate has been so much fun. I remember thinking and wondering with both of them if they would ever get it. Those weeks and months of repeating more after every bite felt so long and pointless. And then, one day, they both just got it. The sign was there, it was obvious, they did it with purpose, and we were thrilled! Maybe signing milk or more isn't huge in the grand scheme of parenting, but those little achievements are sweet moments along the way, and we will not ever forget them.

I know that sometimes life with kiddos seems mundane and monotonous. Do not open the cabinets...Food stays on the table...Only two sheets of toilet paper...Be kind and share...Another poopy diaper...Another load of laundry...Vacuum again...Pick up the toys...You name it. But somewhere in the monotony of it all there is joy instead of drudgery. Everything is more important that what I'm actually doing. All to the glory of God is more than simply a nice slogan or mantra. It has to be the way I live in the unspectacular times or its worthless in the spotlight moments.

Maybe signing milk or more isn't huge in the grand scheme of parenting, but those little achievements are sweet moments along the way. We will never forget them, and try to always thank God for them. A breath of fresh air on this long way home.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tot School

Emma is 32 months
Will is 11 months
Tot School
Tot School via 1+1+1=1

We've had some nice Tot School time over the last two weeks, despite the kids' stomach bugs, my being out of town, and then today Will knocked his chin and stuck his teeth into his tongue. Poor kid has three holes in his tongue. One is fairly substantial, but the other two are smaller. He's doing ok, but I'm sure things are pretty sore!

Emma has been enjoying number recognition activities. These free printables came from TLSBooks. Emma used a highlighter to pick out all of the 1's, 2's, 3's, on up to 10.

We split this up over several days, which helped her to keep straight which number she was looking for on the page. I'd love to do this again and stick the pages in plastic page protectors so that we can use them more than once!

We did several activities with numbers 1 and 2. Emma used stickers to make the numbers follow a pattern I made on a paper for her.

We also used cut and paste number sheets from ABCteach. I cut the numbers out for Emma and we worked on recognizing 1-5, as well as putting them in the correct order.

She was instructed to color the numbers and she opted for tracing them yet again. She did a pretty good job, too!

After we worked with the cut out numbers, Emma used a glue stick to paste them in the correct order at the end of the week.

We also used the back of some of the number recognition sheets to work on tracing some more letters. Emma did some tracing but ended up drawing circles around most of the numbers.

Emma is still our tomato loving girl! One of her favorite things to do is to help with the garden, especially the picking! The tomatoes usually don't make it in the house...this one is headed right into Emma's mouth (in one bite!)

We pulled the muffin tins back out this week. Even though it was mostly for Will, Emma had some fun with them too. We worked on putting the correct color blocks in order.

This was challenging for her because she had to turn the blocks to find the right color before putting them in order. She got a lot better as we worked on it!

One rainy afternoon we made microwave Turkish Delight. This was our second time making this recipe, and it was much better this time! I cut the recipe in half, so I altered the microwave cook times in order to compensate. We made lemon flavored Turkish Delight this time. Emma really wanted to color it blue, but I convinced her that yellow would make more sense.

She was a great help pouring, counting, and even did a little stirring.

 We did a couple together activities, including playing with shaving cream.

This is such a great finger paint.

And we did a special afternoon bath that was mostly an excuse to try out glow sticks in the bathtub!

Hard to get a picture, but you can sort of tell that they were putting them into a large cup.

Tiny Tot School

Will loves music! He is so cute when we pull out the different instruments and crank up the music. He dances and bangs and even stomps his feet to the music.

Inspired by this idea of baby play with apples from Lightning Bug Literacy, I pulled out our bag of apples with the muffin tins.

He seemed to know exactly what to do, although he preferred to throw the apples into the tin instead of simply placing them.

He had so much fun doing this that when we put it away for another activity...

this face showed up really quickly! Poor Will. (We did some more with the apples)

We did a couple variations with the muffin tins since Will liked them so much. Large beads...
  and balls...

Mom's Favorites
Oh, blue highlighter!

And take a look at that beautiful girl!

Big boy enjoying the swings!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Emma is quite the talker. (No, really?) Her gift of gab is usually pretty cute, so we try to write down many of her little one-liners. Like at bedtime recently...

"When I do this" (she squints her eyes shut) "you are dark"

And overheard while having a snack of animal crackers...
"I will eat you, gorilla!"

(yep, that's our girl!)

Peanut butter and jelly is a regular staple at lunch around here. It didn't take too long for Emma to notice that I like to put chips in my peanut butter and honey sandwiches and she wanted to try it too. One day I made her sandwich and stuck chips in it as a surprise, which she really enjoyed. She told me,

"I think there are chips in here. I feeled them when I took a bite and I like the noise they make."

I think Great Pap-Pap would have been tickled about that one!

Sometimes we are amazed by the truth that comes out of her mouth. She ran up to me a few days ago while I was making dinner and said,

"I am happy that Jesus is alive!"

We are teaching her catechism questions and answers, one of which is Can you see God? She answered correctly, "No, but he sees me." And then she added, "I might look for God." 

Martin told her "we are supposed to seek God" and I asked, "Where would you look for God?"

Without hesitation she told us. "In the Jesus Storybook Bible."

Spot on, kiddo.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Women of Faith this Weekend

I am so excited for this weekend! Mom and I are heading up to Philadelphia for the Women of Faith conference. It will be just the two of us, so Martin will be spending some time with Emma and Will. I was given tickets to Women of Faith as part of Book Sneeze, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to write about our experiences this weekend.

I've never been to a Women of Faith conference before, but I have heard some wonderful stories from other who have enjoyed going for several years. In fact, I get to meet up with a good friend from college who is also going to be at the conference in Philly...exciting!

I am really looking forward to this special time to spend with Mom. We have never been able to get away together like this before! It will be a great opportunity to worship together, to hear speakers teach truth from God's Word, and to get away from the business of life. 

The schedule for 2012 is already available. There conference travels across the country, so there are many opportunities to be a part of this awesome weekend.

Disclosure: I was given two free tickets to the Philadelphia Women of Faith conference in exchange for blogging about the conference and featuring the WOF badge on my blog. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Racing through the House

Yesterday was a really rainy day around here, and by the afternoon we needed to burn off a bit of steam. I cleared a path from end to end of the downstairs and set up Emma and Will with their racing toys. Will used the lion and Emma used the shopping cart.

They chased each other back and forth, laughing, falling, and crashing into each other all over the place.

No surprise, Emma won the "races"

I love this one! Cute from behind

I'm sure we'll be doing this again soon, rain or shine!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tot School

Emma is 31.5
Will is 10.5 months
Tot School

We haven't had a focused Tot School post for most of the summer; hopefully the new school year will help get us back on track! Thanks to Pinterest, we've been enjoying a number of new activities, including Magic Milk Paint.

All you need is a little milk in a container, a toothpick, dish soap, and food coloring!

Drop food coloring into the milk. Get close to the milk so that it doesn't spread quite as much (like the yellow, not the blue). Dip your toothpick in dish soap and then poke it into the food coloring....the surface tension is broken and the colors cool.
I used too much milk the first time and it did not work really well, so Emma painted with the colored milk for a while before we tried a second time.
Here is how it is supposed to work - awesome!

  A new skill we are working on is cutting with scissors! Emma really enjoys cutting, and has gotten much better about understand the concept, where her fingers go, etc. She usually cuts magazines or old coupons.

This is another fun art project that I found via Pinterest. With blue painter's tape, I made a letter E on a sheet of paper. Then I told Emma we were going to paint all around the blue E. Before she started on that, she traced the letter E....first time she has ever been able to trace a letter, and she received no prompting!
 The tracing complete, she went on to paint (with watercolors).
The finished project! So cute, we are going to make another one soon!
Here it is hanging in our homemade art gallery!
Emma can do all of her puzzles on her own right now, including the large floor puzzles. To give her a little more of a challenge, I dump several wooden puzzles together and she works them simultaneously.  She is still very quick! Puzzles are one of her favorite activities.

We've had a great time playing outside more now that the weather has been a bit cooler. Emma loves things like chalk and bubbles, and she recently learned to peddle her tricycle all by herself! We've also been playing with outdoor balls...throwing, kicking, and making up our own silly games.

Tiny Tot School
Will is into everything since he is now walking (usually running) across the room! It has helped a lot this week to have focused activities for him to do also. We love tot school!

Thanks to ideas from Carisa, Will has been having a blast with ping pong balls!
He seriously cannot get enough of them. We just keep switching up the "prop" toy that he plays along with the ping pong balls. Here we paired them with nesting cups.
And some outdoor play with the ping pong balls. He loved digging through the grass for them!
Emma couldn't resist helping.
What is it about ping pong balls? I don't know, but he loves them!
  Will is starting to get more interested in books. His favorite (by far!) is this version of Hallmark Guess How Much I Love You, read by Pap Pap and Omi. It is so cute to see him sit and flip through the pages. He recognizes the book enough that he gets frustrated when the board book version does not read to him!
 Will also discovered that our big "boat" box doubles as a tunnel. He even introduced Emma to this idea, and the two of them chase each other through to the other side of the couch.

 Mom's favorites:
Will and the ping pong balls,
and Emma with a big old belly laugh!