Monday, May 18, 2009

My little Joey

Joey should always wear a cape and a helmet. He's such a special little guy!

Experimenting with Montessori

So I've been doing LOTS of reading lately about different educational approaches, and a few have caught my eye. Montessori is one of them, and mostly because it is such a concrete method of learning and it really gives kids practice for every day tasks, AND increases attention span. (One of my problems) That said, I haven't read ENOUGH to really know what to do for these activities! So here's my shot at a bean tray. I took a box top and filled it with dried beans and a bunch of things I had in the kitchen. It was a hit! John Paul had a great time filling and refilling containers, listening to how the beans sound, and using a spoon to transfer beans. I could tell he was really focusing. When Joey woke up from his nap, he really enjoyed the bean transfer too. I am now almost 100% sure he is a lefty. Yay! I love leftys!

Anyway, I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be doing while they were working on the tray. We practiced full and empty and less and more, and guessed which container would hold the most. I'll do some more reading before I do this again, but for the boys it was a big success. Until I took a phone call and the beans went all over the carpet. Now I'm afraid to vacuum, but at least they had fun!

An Impromptu Science Lesson

Daddy gets involved with our projects sometimes....this project wasn't even planned! I got this planet placemat from Walmart a year or so ago for 97 cents and the balls, we just had lying around the house. Think we have enough balls for the two boys?!?!

The boys had a great time comparing sizes of planets and deciding which of their balls would represent each planet. The boys really seem to enjoy science, so I'm sure they will be testing their mother, the least science minded person on THIS planet.
But I'm SO glad they have the itch to learn new things, so I'm a very good sport, and I hope I'll grow to love science right along with them!

Blessed Sleep

I've created a monster. Well, two monsters to be exact. Here at our place, we have some bed time bad times. I wish I could say that our only bed time problems were 100 rounds of "Can I have a glass of water?" or "I have to go to the bathroom again." But no, they're a bit more severe.

So...I call myself an attachment parent-er (I don't think that's a real word), but really, I lack commitment. I LOVE the feel of a tiny newborn snuggled up to me in our bed, nursing peacefully to sleep. And (for the record) I have felt myself called to this kind of mothering.

We ALL sleep really well this way for the first ten months or so. Then the honeymoon wears off. All the sudden, that sweet little newborn turns into a prowling lion, pouncing on his prey and exploring the savannah of our bed in the middle of the night. Seriously. Plus, they take up A LOT more room than they used too. And then I start to think I was CRAZY for letting them sleep there in the first place.

So now, I have two recovering attachment sleepers trying to encounter the world of sleeping alone. Not successfully, as a matter of fact. They sleep in their own beds, but bedtime is a looooooonnnnnnngggggg process. I used to lay with them to go to sleep. An hour and a half would pass and John Paul would finally drift off and Joey would finally sing himself to sleep. An hour and a half!?! These kids are supposed to be tired! Not so. I'm gradually getting myself out of the room...first at the foot of the bed, now on the floor. John Paul is nearly four years old for goodness sake!

Ever so stealthily, I'll work my way to the door. But Joey has a set of lungs that just won't quit and if he even has a hunch that I'm headed out, he'll let us and every neighbor within a three mile radius that his needs aren't being met. So tonight, I'll sit by the closet and meet those beautiful little needs, praying that I don't scar his little soul by saying "So help me, if you utter one more word, I will call your Daddy in here and he will mail you to China! TO CHINA, DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!?!"

Hopefully Our Lady will sit next to me, reminding me that although these nights seem long, too soon they'll pass and I won't be able to keep these kids from sleeping! And then, I'll go to my own bed, and snuggle my little newborn Maria in next to me, because some lessons are hard to learn. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Praise God for Toilet Paper.

I should have known better.

I should have known not to put a full roll of toilet paper on the dispenser like a normal person would. We are not normal here. :)

And I REALLY should have known not to ignore giggling coming from the bathroom. Ever.

But I was feeding the baby and checking my email, and for some reason, the giggling didn't register.

So here are the results. At times like this (and days like this) I have been trying to make myself say this little prayer. John Paul is a big fan because it involves yelling....Go figure.

Praise God! Praise God for clean bathrooms so the toilet paper on the floor can still be reused.

Praise God! Praise God for soft and fancy toilet paper going on sale...we should all be so lucky to use this stuff!

Praise God! Praise God for two healthy little boys who are curious enough to explore their surroundings and clever enough to try and hide the evidence. (I found the majority of the pile in their bedroom after the damage had been done.)

Praise God! Praise God that I did not lose my temper...which I have been known to do. :(

Praise God! Praise God for the luxury of staying home with my children to experience these moments.

Praise God! And most of all, praise God for the laughter of little boys, who can find so much joy in the little things.

Praise God. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shapes and Colors and Joey...Oh My!

Joey sometimes gets left out of the educational mix...he has a different learning style from John Paul and I'm still trying to figure it out. But I made him some activities because the shapes and colors seem to still be a mystery to him. I'm not worried--I'm sure he'll learn when he's good and ready! But until then, these are fun for him to carry around! He was very excited to see that the shapes are in orange--his very favorite color! I laminated them in packaging tape (very high tech) so he doesn't have to be too careful!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Animal Matching and the Swine Flu

I got inspired to make another themed flannel board...because these are easy, I think they will be my main "creative" way to teach. I have been kicking around different ideas for pre-reading activities for John Paul, and I'm working on some word recognition with this activity. I remove all the names of the animals, and he puts them back. He did really well, but mixed up 'bear' and 'boy' a couple of times because of the beginning sounds. But that's a good mistake--it means he's really thinking! This activity didn't hold his attention the way I thought it would...but he was having one of those days anyway. We're cooped up at home because of a little swine flu scare out there, so I think he's a bit stir crazy! I also kept pigs out of the matching game because I'm a bit bitter about the swine flu myself.... ;)
Joey didn't like this activity, and because the two of them were in fine form, they fought about who would take off and put on the labels. John Paul usually wins those little spats--I can't wait until Joey is verbal enough to take him on!
So tonight we opted to watch a movie together--The Tale of Despereaux or something like that. It was cute and it really kept John Paul's attention because he's into knights and soldiers and all of that boy stuff. Except usually he wants to be the "bad soldier"...but that's another story all together. And it's late. Good night!