Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Fun ...

I've loved the challenge of coming up with a fun, small activity for Ian each day. The key has been to keep it simple and to borrow great ideas from other people! :) (On that note, please share fun ideas that you hear about. Thanks for the Counting Cocunts idea, Doris! That site is awesome!) I also have really liked using the book First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos by MaryAnn Kohl!
One idea from that book was making a tape collage using various types of tape. I knew Ian would like playing with tape since he always wants to use the tape when he sees me using it, but I didn't realize what a great learning experience it would be, too!
Ian didn't know at first that tape has a sticky side and a not-sticky side and he kept trying to stick the wrong side down to the paper. He was frustrated at first.
He quickly learned to put the sticky side DOWN!
Another side benefit was that he learned some new vocabulary -- duct tape, thick painting tape, thin painting tape, masking tape, and Scotch tape. :)
His finished projects actually looked kind of neat as well!

Ian had Caleb over one day last week ... right after our first rain storm in weeks and weeks! Needless to say, the boys were both VERY excited to jump and run and even play "Ring Around the Rosy" in the puddles!

We also did a few Easter egg hunts together! Neither boy really understood the concept of hiding the eggs for the other boy, but they were really excited to find the eggs that I had hidden. Just as fun for the boys was rolling the eggs all over the kitchen floor and excavating them up!
Last Friday, we went to the children's museum with some friends. Ian never gets tired of that place and eagerly chatters all the way there about what he wants to do, including the "rubber mulch pit,"

and the water table (He's learned that placing the fish directly onto the magnet is much easier than actually fishing).Friends Micah, Caleb, and Eli liked the water table, too.
Ian always loves the train table as well (so did Eli and Caleb).
Zane and Ian liked playing with sand, too.
We attempted to get a partial-group picture before leaving for the park for lunch, but it wasn't too successful. :)
While helping to get laundry in the bottom of the hamper, Ian thought it would be much easier to just climb all the way in!
On Sunday, we took Ian to his first-ever Sunday school class. Our church offers Sunday school beginning for 2-year-olds as long as one parent comes along. Matt and I plan to alternate going to Bible class and attending Sunday school with Ian. Matt said that Ian absolutely loved his first week of Sunday school (and was thrilled to learn that he didn't have to go to the nursery! ha ha).
Matt and Ian worked together on a craft -- a fruit tree with a black snake wrapped around the trunk. Matt said that Ian readily participated in the teacher's short Bible lesson about Creation and seemed to love all of the activities ...
Ian was a big fan of the apple juice at snack time. He also liked the free play with play dough and the songs (because he got to stand by Caleb). :)
Here's Ian proudly displaying his craft and toy snake "favor."
Monday's fun activity was something I modified from the art book for toddlers. The original idea suggested dyeing bubbles with food coloring and then blowing bubbles that would pop onto a piece of posterboard. Ian still isn't the most patient at blowing bubbles himself (we tried!), but I knew that he could spray the spray bottle independently. It worked very well!
He sprayed with blue first

and then added some green.
Ian's finished masterpieces ...
Yesterday, I had the idea to try a scavenger hunt with Ian. A fond memory I have from growing up is when my mom would design scavenger hunts for us – riddles hidden in plastic Easter eggs (no matter what the season) that would eventually lead us to a small prize or special snack. I wanted to start the tradition with Ian, but knew that he wouldn’t understand riddles yet (and of course can't read any words!).

Instead, I printed off seven clip art pictures (sofa, bed, bathtub, crib, fridge,
table, and television).
After he opened up each egg (saying “a paper!” excitedly each time) and saw the picture, he was able to independently find the place in our house where the next egg was hidden.

He loved the activity as much as the small prize at the end!
When Momma doesn't have a fun activity planned, Ian is happy to create his own. He spent quite a long time taking off each book jacket and sorting into a book pile, a book jacket pile, and a random-papers-I-found-in-the-books pile.
He also liked playing with balloons earlier today!
He still doesn't quite have the coordination to catch a ball, but he is thrilled that he CAN catch balloons!

In the process of getting Ian's big boy room ready (and cleaning out all of the closets), we found a Thomas train set that we got at a garage sale over 1.5 years ago. It has all of the pieces, including a fun crane that Ian has been carrying all over the house! The side benefits of deep cleaning, I guess! :)

On a side note, this week we went back to the grocery store where Ian was stranded in the locked car for about 10 minutes (see the last post if you have no idea what I'm talking about). Anyway, this week, right before I opened the passenger door to get him out, Ian asked, "Momma, can you open the door, or do we have to wait for Daddy?" :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Week of Fun ... and not-so-fun

I began this week with the goal to try some small, fun project with Ian each day ...

On Monday, we played with baking soda and vinegar (good idea, Becky & Marcie!). Using a small dropper, Ian put some vinegar we colored blue into a bowl of baking soda.
After the blue vinegar spilled all over, we made some red vinegar. :) Ian enjoyed watching the baking soda/vinegar mixture bubbling!

It didn't take long for Ian to realize that he could make a LOT bigger bubbles by placing the baking soda INTO the glass of vinegar. That was his favorite part! :)
I think Ian had almost as much fun, though, taking the tape off of his big boy room walls.
To a two-year-old, even "work" is fun, I guess!
On Tuesday, we set out to make "feelie goop." I poured a cup of corn starch onto a baking sheet. Ian loved feeling the smoothness of the corn starch and even trying to taste it.
Next, we mixed about 1/2 cup water with the corn starch to make that cool hard-but-liquid "goop."
Ian was fascinated watching the goop drip off of his fingers.
It looked especially cool after we dyed the goop blue. :)

Our not-so-fun experience Tuesday happened while we were out grocery shopping. In the process of locking the driver's door, I accidentally bumped the passenger door closed ... with Ian and my keys locked inside! After a moment of panic as I thought of the horror stories of how hot cars can get very quickly (especially in Texas heat!), I called Matt who immediately left work to come rescue Ian with his second set of car keys. Meanwhile, a nice lady parked next to me notified the store security. Soon, I had by my car a grocery store employee calling for emergency back-up, a large man trying to open the partially-ajar door with a coat hanger ("This usually works!" he said.), and an entire maintenance crew suggesting that I ask other shoppers who drive Hondas to borrow their keys ("Often other keys will open the door," they said.) Meanwhile, Ian sat inside the hot car, sweating a little but mainly just reading his book, pointing out the cranes, and generally being very pleasant. He kept saying, "I can't do that, Momma!" when I tried to instruct him on how to open up his car seat buckles. Within about ten minutes, Matt pulled into the parking lot, right before an ambulance and police car came to help, too. "I was able to get here very quickly," Matt told the police man with a smile. Thankfully, God helped Matt to hit all green lights and helped Ian to remain pleasant the whole time. Ian had no sign of any injury (or any clue about what had just happened). What an embarrassing, humbling situation -- one of those times when you feel like you probably deserve the "worst mom of the day" award. Thankfully, we have a merciful Heavenly Father who covers up those mistakes and gives us a fresh start every day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Thoughts

Play-doh continues to be a huge hit for Ian. He most enjoys using his play-doh scissors to cut chunks of dough into teeny, tiny pieces that he calls "apple pie." He'll sit and do this for at least ten minutes at a time while Kim gets lunch together or does some other project in the kitchen.

Ian loves painting, especially as we've been talking a lot about painting "the room that he'll sleep in when he's a little bit older." We worked this week to choose the paint, tape the room, and reorganize the room (moving out furniture that won't stay in there, organizing closets, etc.) Last night, on our last "date night" we started the oh-so-romantic task of painting while our friends watched Ian. Here are a few pictures of our project so far, including one of Ian helping out with a little rolling when he returned from our friends' house.

Hopefully, next week you'll see more pictures of the room-in-progress. How exciting! We're hoping to have Ian fully transitioned into his newly-painted, newly-decorated room in about a month. We'll see.

Puzzles have become a daily choice of activity, too. While Ian still most prefers wooden puzzles (cut-out shapes that fit into a board), he also enjoys experimenting with small jigsaw puzzles. He understands that the "peg" on each piece has to fit into the hole, but he doesn't get the concept of border pieces, matching color, etc. and needs lots of direction (Momma saying, "This piece goes here!") so he doesn't get overly frustrated. This Diego puzzle is his current favorite jigsaw puzzle. A friend gave us a Dora & Diego book and jeep, and they are now Ian's new favorite characters. He even noticed Dora cereal in the cereal aisle at Randall's on Tuesday! Who knew?

Ian is always up for trying a new activity! My cousin, Marcie, just started a blog. I get so inspired by Marcie's fun, kid-friendly activities, in addition to her yummy-sounding recipes. In fact, she has inspired me to implement a "Week o' Fun" next week. I'm going to plan a small and short fun activity for Ian every day next week that we'll do between when he wakes up from nap and dinner (in my opinion, the LONGEST time of every day as we wait for Daddy to get home). If I don't feel like being creative, I'm sure Marcie has at least five ideas I can steal. :) Her blowing-bubbles-print idea is the first one that I've actually had Ian try since I was really curious about how it would turn out. Ian thought blowing bubbles was SUPER fun until he decided to sample the (non-toxic) paint/dishwashing soap/water mixture, despite Momma's warnings that it wouldn't taste very good. Then he was ready to move on to something safer, like fingerpainting.

Ian has just recently gotten past the stage where he did NOT want fingerpaint on his hands and kept asking for it to be wiped off.

Last week, I went to my final baking class with my friend, Lauren. We learned a lot about using fondant (super fun!) to create shapes and also learned a fun, simple way to ice a cupcake like a flower.

We went to the children's museum last Friday. Apparently, it was a special "End o' Summer Fun" day with extra activities planned (so I probably wouldn't have braved the crowd had I known about it before we got there). One special activity was a presentation by Nutri Man, who explained some basic concepts of nutrition to the kids, although most of them were too young to really get it. Here, Nutri Man had them throw away "junk foods," but most of the volunteers threw all of the fake food away, including the apples and bananas. Ian actually wanted to volunteer when the activity changed to throwing small fruits into a monster's stomach, but he got a little shy and nervous when he started going up to the front and changed his mind. Ian's main fascination during the presentation was that Nutri Man (apparently VERY hot in his cape and mask) was sweating profusely. Ian kept asking in a concerned voice, "What's dripping off of that man?"

Ian liked sticking to his tried-and-true favorite museum activities, including the Lego table, fishing at the water table, and the train table. In the below video, Ian tells about some of his favorites at the museum as well as our trip to a few grocery stores the next day. (It's always interesting to hear what he remembers or thinks is important!)

Ian wants to be involved in EVERYTHING that we are doing. He got a big kick out of helping us nail new chair slides onto our chair legs.

He actually could really help with this project!

Lately, Ian often says, "I want to read it!" when it's time for stories. With some of his favorite books, like Dig, Dig, Digging by Margaret Mayo, Ian has every single word memorized. With other books, he'll just say random phrases and words that he remembers from each page. "I stop for 'destrians (pedestrians)," is one of my favorite lines he says from "My Car" by Byron Barton. Even with new library books (which he doesn't know any words from), he'll insist on being the one to turn the pages.

In other news, Matt has officially started school. He says that the extra 60-70 students in the building don't make things seem too crowded! He's challenging himself to learn the names of all of the new freshmen and transfer students very soon.

We'll go in next week for our 6-week check-up following the miscarriage. While we're still feeling overall very good emotionally, I'm starting to get a little anxious as our time to "start trying" quickly approaches. I just feel like I become so self-absorbed while I'm on the "will I get pregnant THIS month?" roller coaster. If there's anything that I learned during the time of the miscarriage, it's that God is completely in control, He's good, and that He provides just what we need to get through life's challenges. But, here I am again ... trying to take things under MY control and worrying/fretting that God might not have it all figured out the right way (MY way, which would be getting pregnant very soon). I loaned some maternity clothes to a friend, and it was heart-wrenching to hand the clothes over, wishing that I could be wearing them now, hoping that I'll be asking for them back soon, but realizing that I'm completely not in control of the situation. My head continues to swim with thoughts that don't need to be there since we DO have an amazing, all-powerful God who has our best interests at heart. Thanks so much for your continued prayers for our peace in trusting God's wisdom.