Mar 28, 2014

Squishies

Upon searching for some fun things to do with the girls, I stumbled upon this blog about sensory play with water beads. And I was all like, "what the heck are water beads?". They looked fun, sounded fun, so off I went to the store to find some. They come in this itty bitty bag and individually are barely the size of a pen tip. But once you add water, they grow and grow! I think Jeff & I had just as much fun playing with them and watching in awe as they soaked up water. *Big kids over here!**


I marked a line on the pitcher so Lilly could see where the water beads started and then a couple hours later we went back to take a gander and the beads were MUCH bigger and MUCH higher in the pitcher. She was amazed!
see the faint purple line near the bottom? That's where they started!

After they were done "growing" and I spent no less than 10 minutes plunging my hand into the pitcher, Ooohing & Aaahhing at how neat they felt (squishy, not slimy, just...interesting), I decided to pour them into a rectangular container wide enough for the kids to stand in. OMG did you know those little water beads, once plumped up with water, become bouncy?! As they poured into the container, they ricocheted off one another and bounced all over my kitchen as I laughed and dropped the F bomb numerously. Thankfully V was taking a nap and L was entertained with a movie so there was no one in my way, no one to hear Momma's potty mouth, and no one to eat the freaking beads. Did I mention they were clear ones? I guess I should've opted for the colored ones because they would have been easier to find. Since the pouring method didn't work too well, I opted for a half pour, half scoop and guide into the container method. That worked. Next up...fun!
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I set the container on the floor and Lilly stepped into it. Bounce bounce bounce. Dammit! A bunch of the beads jumped out of the container as Lilly squealed with delight. Again, not okay with a toddler that likes to put everything and anything into her mouth. So I decided to place a towel under the bin in hopes that this would help me to see the beads as well as to deter them from going elsewhere in the living room.
 By then, Violet was awake and trying to dive into the container. I placed her feet into it and she was so ecstatic that she started moving her feet around and there were beads EVERYWHERE! Moment of freak out for me as I simultaneously scoured the room for random beads while keeping one eye glued to Violet. Phew! Got all the beads up, no one tried to eat them, everyone was alive and eager to play in spite of Mom acting like a spaz. Now what?
the "I'm about to shovel this stuff into my mouth" look

Lightbulb! I placed the beads into a cooler and we headed outside. The cooler was deep enough to not worry about the beads bouncing out and both girls could stand in it together. They had soooo much fun using their feet, their hands, sitting in it, trying to grip them with toes. It was all fun and fine until Violet repeatedly raised her hands toward her mouth, beads clutched tightly in her little hands. After a few times of that occurring I called it quits and took her out. But not without her throwing a fit. I can't say I blame her for being upset that she couldn't play in the beads because they're seriously a blast! We let Lilly play in them again but because I was so nervous about beads getting out of the cooler I decided to let them dry up and we tossed them:(


Once Violet is no longer in the eat-everything-phase, then we'll attempt water bead play again:) They're too awesome to not re-visit.

Mar 21, 2014

Teaching Them as They Teach Me

For the past couple months I've been doing some serious thinking about homeschooling the girls. We have a couple years still before a final decision needs to be made, but it's not too early to think. And talk. And plan. I joined a few Facebook groups where I've been gathering information and kind of taking it all in. It is very overwhelming with the different methods, courses, blah blah! But Lilly is already asking to go to school and LOVES to learn so I decided to start doing "school" stuff now. Since she's not quite 3, I want her days to remain filled with play and so there is no schedule, no strict guidelines to adhere to. I'm just taking her cues and interests and finding fun things for us to do. It breaks up the monotony, keeps her engaged and less likely to have tantrums out of boredom, and allows her to learn new things and in new ways. And Violet, being just 1 is quickly picking up new things by the minute! Honestly, I'm having a LOT of fun figuring out new things for us to do together. Who knew?! Also, Pinterest, as always, has been an amazing resource with it's plethora of ideas!

We don't do a new activity every day. Sometimes not even every week. But our days are filled with a mixture of the following, with new activities thrown in the mix. This list is mostly for Lilly but since Violet is here all day as well, she naturally is involved in a great deal & soaking up knowledge like a sponge like big sister.
  • Reading (on her own & being read to)
  • Reciting books (she has recently started doing this really well & randomly surprises us with a new one she has memorized)
  • Music & dancing in the living room
  • Singing (we sing pretty much all throughout the day)
  • Free play
  • Outside (whether it's the back yard, a walk, the park, zoo, etc)
  • Art (free or semi-guided)
  • Life Skills (cleaning, laundry, cooking, building, dressing herself, etc)
  • Science (we're just now starting to dive into this)
  • Math (right now consists of lots of counting at random times throughout our day "pick up 3 of your animals", etc)
  • Geography, directions
  • TV (when baby sis goes to nap, she gets to watch a show or movie. Sometimes educational, sometimes purely entertainment. But I think there's always something to be learned anywhere you look)
  • the Other Stuff that I can't quite think of a category for (comparisons, computer usage, etc)
Looks like a daunting list, but it's actually quite an organic flow throughout the day. There are some elements we touch on more frequently than others. Just depends on the day. And aside from "let's sit down and read a few books before bedtime", nothing is structured. It kind of just happens when & where it happens. We all like to go with the flow:)

I plan on sharing our fun activities so that others can gather ideas, be inspired and maybe swap ideas as well! Some stuff I make up, but other ideas I get from others. :) This learning journey is amazing and I'm thoroughly enjoying watching my girls grow and learn and love it! We're all learning together.

Mar 5, 2014

RIP Little Guys

Ok, let me start out by saying that no one has died. Only a small part of Jeff. He got a vasectomy a couple weeks ago. It was mentioned over a year ago but after all his procrastinating, I didn't think it would actually happen. But it did. He's got the bruised and tender balls to prove it. While I think there is absolutely no comparison between this and birthing a baby, I feel for him and hope the swelling subsides quickly. He's been a trooper and hasn't complained much. :)

When the snip was first mentioned, I was bothered by it. After much thought, and Violet being born and getting in sync with our new family dynamics, I'm 100% supportive of his decision. I'm elated that the girls have one another as siblings. But I'm ok with us not having more. Now, we are an even number. And we aren't outnumbered. We can still fit in our current vehicle. Adios little spermies. It was fun.