Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"She wanted to play with her toys..."

On Sunday morning I put Meredith in her crib with TWO toys so she could play while I finished getting ready for church.  I could hear Mackenzie playing in Meredith's room and talking to her, but that's not unusual, so I didn't think anything about it.  Once I was ready, I went to get Meredith dressed for Church and this is what I found:

Mackenzie had put every single toy of Meredith's in her crib with her.  She claims that "Meredith wanted to play with her toys".  As you can see, Meredith was laying there happily holding one of her toys.

I did laugh and take a picture but after looking at some of the toys and books and their locations, I realized that Mackenzie had to have thrown a couple of the toys in the crib to get them where they were.  We told her that she shouldn't do that anymore because Meredith could have gotten hurt and that she could only ever give Meredith her own toys, not Mackenzie's toys because they were too small and she could choke..

Meredith is 5 months old and will be crawling in 3-5 months, so I'm going to have to do some major organizing of the playroom and keep my eyes open, because boy do we have A LOT of toys for ages "3 & up"!

Monday, January 30, 2012

5 months

Meredith is 5 months old!  It's an off month as far as a doctors check up, so I have my own stats:

Weight - 18 pounds
Height - 28"

At 5 months, Meredith:
 - rolls from her back to her stomach every time she's put on her back
 - is eating (5) 7oz bottles a day - pretty much every 3 hours from 7:30am to 7:30 pm.
 - eats oatmeal and other solid food in the evenings.
 - recognizes a bottle when you show it to her and then reaches for it to put it in her mouth.
 - tries to sit up in her car seat and high chair.
 - wears size 6 month clothing.
 - wear size 2 shoes.
 - loves to hear me sing.  If she's upset in the car, I can usually sing to her and she stops crying.
 - is finally starting to like baths.
 - still loves to be swaddled at night when going to sleep.
 - is starting to fall sleep on her own without being held.
 - has started trying to get her knees under her when laying on her stomach!  Please don't crawl anytime soon! ;)

I didn't really have any good pictures of Mackenzie at 5 months.  Apparently I only took 3 pictures total and the one below is the best one to use for a comparison with Meredith.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

RRSP: Letter H, 3, triangle, blue

This week we focused on the Letter H.  If you are curious about the order we are going in, the intent is to start with the easiest letters to write and work toward the harder letters.  Curves are harder, so we focus on the straight line letters first.

This is the PowerPoint presentation we do everyday.  Mackenzie really likes to push the button to make it go to the next slide.
 We put heart stickers on our letter H collage.
Again, Mackenzie cut out the vocabulary cards and the she traces the H's.  Look at that concentration! ;) 
She likes to do the letter mazes and letter sorts.  Sometimes the fonts are tricky for her to see what the letter is, but this way she is learning the letter in all kinds of fonts and not just one.
One of our new games/activities is this bug sort.  She has to use the scoopers (kind of like salad tongs) to pick up the bugs and sort them into their labeled cup.  She's having a little difficulty with the scooping, but that's why I got the game - to work on those fine motor skills.

We do a lot of the same activities each week (collage, letter sort, letter maze...), but this week I supplemented our lessons with a themed unit - ballerinas.  Since she loves ballerinas and just started dance, she really liked the theme.

This is a ballerina puzzle with numbers on the sides.  You have to put the numbers in order to finish the puzzle.  This first day, she needed my help, but on Friday, she had it completed by the time I finished fixing her a snack!
 We did graphing for the first time as we rolled our picture dice and filled in the matching image on the paper.  The ballerina slippers made it to the top first!
On another day, I put ballerinas on a "dance floor" and she had to count them and find the corresponding number.  We also worked it the other way, where I chose a number and she had to put that many ballerinas on the paper.
During our first week of school, we did some patterns and she really struggled with them, so this week we worked on them again.  She did much better this time with the ballerinas!

We'll continue the ballerinas and winter themes (from week one) this next week and then move onto Valentine's Day the week after.

She memorized her memory verse pretty quickly again this week and now she knows 3 verses! (And so do I!)  Her other memorization that I've been impressed with is the months of the year song and pledges to the US and Texas flags.  So good for only 3 weeks (9 days) of school!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rolling - the hard way!

Meredith is rolling over the hard way, from her back to her stomach.  I can't put her down on her back without her rolling to her stomach in a matter of seconds.  The problem is that she is still not rolling from her stomach to her back, so she eventually starts to fuss.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Flashback: wedding dresses

I've only ever tried on one wedding dress.  That's it.  Just one.  When it's right it's right.

Brandon and I met in September 1998, started dating in December 1998 and talked about marriage in May 1999.  When it's right, it's right.  I didn't say anything to my parents until December 1999, just before Brandon came down to ask my dad.  I told my mom as we were picking up dinner at Wendy's or some fast food restaurant.  She smiled and said my dad owed her $50.  Apparently she thought it was coming and my dad didn't think it would happen so soon.  That's how we told my dad...we walked in the house and my mom said, "well, you owe me $50."  He figured out what she was talking about pretty quickly.

Anyways, after that, I bought lots and lots of wedding magazines.  I kept flagging the same dress in every magazine, so when I finally went to try on dresses I asked if they had that particular dress and they did.  I tried it on and the rest is history.

When it's right, it's right.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

dollar stores

I've never been one to shop at dollar stores.  I just always thought it was a bunch of junk.  But, recently, my opinion has changed slightly.  A couple of weeks ago Brandon and I browsed one and I was able to find some craft supplies for Mackenzie, plus holiday (Valentine and St. Patrick) paraphernalia and other items for us to use in school.  I spent $13 and felt like I had walked away with a good amount of stuff.  Today, the girls and I went to a dollar store I found a few minutes from our house.  It wasn't very big, but we went down every aisle to see if we found anything we wanted.  Guess what...we did.  They had lots of craft items, some tiny clips for Mackenzie to practice her pinching fine motor skills, wooden lady bugs in different sizes to practice sorting, painted wooden blocks to use for sorting or counting, and plastic shape ice cube trays to use for other sorting games! 

I tried to look at all items and see if they could be used for anything other than their original purpose, so I ended up with quite a variety of items.  One of the random things we also bought were toothpicks with little paper US flags attached.  We've been saying the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas pledge every day we have school, so when we are out and about Mackenzie looks for the two flags.  I thought she would like to play with the little flags, plus we can use them again for the 4th of July and our letter F collage in a couple of weeks.

One of the items I stared at for a while were these 8" square wooden trivets.  I don't even remember the picture on them because I was thinking I should cover them with fabric I have and hang them on the wall above our bed.  The only reason I didn't buy them was because originally I was going to have Brandon make 12x12 frames for me to cover and I didn't know how many I wanted if I switched to 8x8 boards.  I'm going to re-evaluate that in the next couple of days and I might go back next week and buy them.  They weren't made for hanging, so I'd have to attach some picture frame hangers to them, but that's no biggie.

Anyways, don't get me wrong, some of the stuff in a dollar store is still junk, but some of it's not to bad.  I've spent a total of 29 dollars at 2 different stores and have obtained a lot of stuff.  A lot more than I would have gotten at target or even amazon.  I've decided I'll just go once every month or two and check out the holiday items or any craft supplies they might have.  It never hurts to look!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

5 Love languages of Children

I'm currently reading this book:

I have really enjoyed learning about the 5 love languages...words of affirmation, quality time, touch, receiving gifts and acts of service.  Every child needs love shown to them in all of these languages, but they usually have one language that is their predominant language - the one they need to feel the most.

Brandon and I think Mackenzie's predominant love language is quality time.  She will ask us several times a day to specifically play with her or watch a movie with her. She doesn't always let us play with her (she likes things a certain way), but she still wants us to sit next to her while she plays.  Now that I realize quality time is her predominant love language, I've really been trying to focus on spending more quality time with her.  I think the home school helps tremendously because it's time that she and I spend together while Meredith naps.  That's actually a time when I can use all of the other love languages at the same time.

words of affirmation - "you did awesome", "you are so smart", "thank you for doing so well"
touch - sitting in my lap, hugging her when she has done well, holding her hand when we sing
gifts - new exciting school stuff for her - usually a new school activity/game each week
acts of service - helping her with the coloring or cutting when she asks

In one of the chapters it talks about discipline and still using the love languages.  It said that for a child whose love language is quality time, being sent to their room to be alone can really hurt their sense of being loved.  With that being said, I think that's why the threat of being sent to her room really works for Mackenzie.  She rarely is sent to her room - only when she has repeatedly disobeyed us, but the threat of isolation is usually enough.  I did this before I read the book, but after she's had her time out, we always hug her and tell her we love her.  So, even though we punished her through her predominant language at least we are telling her we love her with two other languages.

They say that a child's love language can change over time, so it's good to use all of the love languages and to also watch for clues if it has changed.  I also bought the original 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and I plan to read it next.  It has the same languages, but relates to marriage, so I think it's still worth reading.  I think my love language is words of affirmation, but I'm going to take the survey at the back of the book to confirm.

I just thought I'd share this info with those who haven't read the books.  I highly recommend buying, borrowing, or checking it out from the library!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Super Momma

Brandon took Mackenzie to play at the neighborhood playground last week and when she came home she was calling us "super momma", "super daddy" and "super Mackenzie".  Yesterday after church she told me  that I could be super momma if I stopped being silly.  I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand the concept of super hereos because when I asked her what super mommas do, this was her response,

"they drive...they iron...watch tv...and play with super Mackenzies."

If that's all it takes, then yes, I am a super momma! ;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Organization: Recipes

One of the small tasks I wanted to accomplish this new year was to organize my cookbooks and recipe box.  Since I've been trying new recipes for the last few months, I had amassed quite a collection of 8 1/2x11 printouts of recipes and it was driving me crazy.

My mom gave me this recipe box at one of my wedding showers 10 years ago and I only had a few remaining blank recipe cards left, so I ordered some new cards off amazon.

I copied all of the recipes that I had tried on Friday and laminated them yesterday.  Look how pretty!

Then I put all of the recipes I have yet to try in plastic folders so they at least look neat and tidy.

I also went through my cookbook and looked to see if there were any that I wouldn't use and could give away.  I found 2 or 3 small ones that I had gotten at the grocery store on sale that I realized none of the recipes look appetizing to me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the recipes are great...they just don't look appetizing to me, the fairly picky eater.  So I didn't clean out the books that much, but just to declutter al of the paper is great!

Now I should be able to easily find all of the new recipes we've recently tried without having to pull out a huge stack of papers.

My next task in this area is to slowly start to go through the cookbooks and make a list of recipes I want to try.  This will obviously be an ongoing task.  Maybe I can try to do a cookbook every one or 2 months.  What do you do?  Do you just pick up a different cookbook every week and decide right then what to cook?  I plan meals on a weekly basis, but I feel like I need to do by the month.  Is that normal or is that just me going a little overboard?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RSSP: Letter T, Number 2, square, sight word "the"

This week's Raising Rock Stars Preschool unit was focused on the letter "T".  The memory verse from My ABC's Memory Verse was Exodus 20:15 - Thou shall not steal.  We talked about the 10 commandments and then focused on what it meant to steal.  The example in the book was "stealing" flowers from a neighbor's yard if you don't ask for permission, but I focused on taking someone's toys from their house when they are not yours.  The coloring sheet on the first day shows a person taking a piggy bank and so now that's the lesson she remembers.  If you ask her what it means to steal, she says, "when you take someone's piggy bank." ;)

We also focused on the number 2 and the site word "the".  The curriculum has really cute little books that she reads every day.  Last week the book was titled "I see" and so each page said, "I see 1 lion" (or lamp or ladder).  She knew the letter I, we were focusing on the word see and she knew the number 1.  The only thing she didn't know was how to read the last word and since it had it's picture on the page, she knew what it said.  She thought it was great because she was actually reading.  This week the book was titled "The Turtles".  Each page said, "I see the turtle" (or happy turtle or funny turtle or angry turtle).  Again, because of the picture she knew what the last 2 words were and it made her feel great that she was reading on her own.

*On a side note to last week's word "see" - Tuesday night, Mackenzie said, "Momma, momma, I found the word see."  She was reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  It was the perfect book, because "see" is on every page!  I didn't even think to read it the week before, but that's okay since she found it on her own, I think she'll remember all the more now.*

We made our letter T collage with all things starting with T and we also did a letter T sort.

She did great with the letter sound sort where we looked at pictures and determined if they started with the letter T.

She's getting much better with her cutting and cut out all of her vocab cards this week by herself, except that I help her hold the paper.  I didn't get a picture of that, but I did get a picture of her cutting her memory verse.

Since it's so short, it didn't take long.  I had her stand up and see how tall it was compared to her and afterward she started measuring other items around the house.  Apparently, the memory verse is longer than the tv remote!

Next week is the letter "H" and I'm planning on adding a supplemental themed unit on Ballerinas, now that we've got the hang of our school schedule.  I'm loving this and am so glad she's loving it too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nap Time

I've never been a stickler for where Mackenzie's naps are taken.  Before she walked, she napped in the swing because that's what she was used to sleeping in at school.  When she was a toddler, we kept a pillow on the living room floor and she would just lay down on it whenever she got tired and go to sleep.  When we first moved to this house, I had her sleep in her room, but she almost always slept in her nap mat on the floor.  After she transitioned to a twin bed, she actually took naps in the bed, but once I was really pregnant, she started taking naps with me in my bed.  Since we've been home I've allowed her to choose where she wants to nap.  Some days it's the couch, some days it's the recliner or her small chair.  A lot of time, it's the floor.  I guess it just never changed from when she was a toddler.  As long as she has a pillow and her bunnies, she's good to go.  A couple of months ago she actually took a nap in the dining room!  I can find something else to do in another room while she sleeps, so I don't care where she sleeps as long as she takes a nap!  I found these pictures of Mackenzie taking her naps in the past 3 years.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What we've been doing...

This week has already been kind of busy which is good and bad.  The randomness of the week is as follows:

1.  we bought a mini server for our house so that we can have the ultimate back up of all our photos and files.  This means that in my spare time, I've been cleaning out and transferring photos/files from the 2 computers onto the server.  I could probably do it very quickly if I just wanted to dump everything on the server, but I'm using this time to clean up all of the junk we've collected on our computer.

2.  By "we" I mean "me".  I'm a hoarder.  Not a hoarder of physical stuff like on the tv show, but of free files and documents from the Internet.  I have so many organizational lists/charts/calendars...preschool files...recipes...craft ideas...scrapbooking...photoshop stuff...anything and everything.  I think I have a problem. ;)

3.  We started a new letter, number, color, site word and memory verse this week.  We had school on Monday and haven't done anything sense.  That's OK though, I had only planned on doing it 3 times a week and we still have Thursday and Friday.

4.  Mackenzie started her first real dance class on Tuesday.  She loved and I loved that she loved it.  The school requires that her hair be pulled up in at least a pony tail.  Their online document says they are to wear a bun, so, me being the obeyer of rules that I am, made her wear a bun.  She fought a little that morning, but once I put it up, she liked it.  It's small, but oh so cute.  Her sparkle shoes are what she wore there so that we didn't ruin her ballet or tap shoes outside.  Oh, and she wouldn't stop dancing long enough for me to snap a decent picture, which is the exact reason we signed her up for dance.

5.  Meredith has been eating.  Surprise, surprise, she likes to eat! ;)  She's had rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and squash.  She made a little bit of a funny face with the first bite of sweet potatoes, but has eaten every thing I've put in front of her!  Again, not much of a surprise with as big as she is.

6.  We've had 2 morning activities followed by 2 lunch dates the last 2 days and it kind of makes you tired at the end of the day (but clearly not that tired since I'm writing this post at 10pm).  I guess I'm on my second wind! ;)  I asked Mackenzie if she was ready to just stay home tomorrow and do school and play all day and she said yes.  I think we'll do that tomorrow and Friday!  Maybe I'll even get a few projects done during nap time! ;)  You know me, I can't stay still for long!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Greeting Card Randomness

When I was cleaning out the greeting cards last week, several cards made me laugh out loud!

1.  I opened up a Christmas card from my step sisters and (2) 10 dollar bills fell out!  I have no idea how old the card is, but for just my sisters to sign it, I think it was at least 8 years old!  I texted them that night and said thanks again! ;)  Looks like I now have some extra money in my purse!

2.  While looking at mine and Brandon's 30th birthday cards I noticed that we both had the same card.  When I opened them, they were both from my mother-in-law.  It would appear that Cindy likes the same cards!  Oh, and apparently greeting cards don't change as often as you might think.  At least not less than every 2 years!  ;)

3.  I found a card Brandon had given me for Valentine's Day one year with a picture of an old couple on the front.  Later I found an anniversary card I had given to Brandon with a different picture, but the same couple.  Apparently we both think they are cute!

4.  I have 3 different George W Bush birthday cards through out the years.  I didn't realize they made so many different ones?!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I finally see it!

So many people have told us that the girls look a like and I just never saw it.  I see them every day, I look at their pictures all the time and I just didn't see a lot of resemblance.  The other day I saw one of our framed pictures and thought, "when did I frame that picture of Meredith?"  Then I realized it was a picture of Mackenzie!

Yep, they look alike!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Raising Rock Stars Preschool: Letter L, number 1, circle, sight word - see

I started my own preschool with Mackenzie this past week and it was great!  I found awesome printables based on My ABC Bible Verses, a book we already had.  The link above is the blog where I found the Raising Rock Stars curriculum.  I love it all!  She even makes PowerPoint presentations for each unit that help reinforce the lessons for the week.  I'll try to get a video of Mackenzie doing the PowerPoint because she loves it.  I also supplemented the unit with activities from the Bible and Rhyme Program and other miscellaneous crafts and puzzles.  We only spent about 1 to 1 1/2 hours each time we had "school" and we only did it 3 times this past week.

Each day we started with Calendar time.  I made a small binder that includes the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, the Texas Pledge and the Texas State Song.  We said/sang all 4 of these every morning.  Next came the actual calendar stuff.  I printed a months of the year and days of the week song with a graphic so she can start learning what the words look like.  She already knew the days of the week song, so the challenge is the months of the year, but on the 3rd day she was already kind of singing along.  We look at the date for that day and also check the weather outside.  Finally we sing our ABC's and we are ready for the lessons that day.

I made this board for the weekly unit and so far it's working pretty well.  We read out of our ABC Bible Verses book to learn our memory verse for the week and then we read the application and sing our song.  We use the popsicle sticks to hunt for the letter, number or sight word on the board for that week.

I asked for these drawers for Christmas and Mackenzie loves to open each drawer to see what we are doing next (I only put one task per drawer). 
 I won't go into a lot of detail about what we did, but here are the pictures from the week.
Coloring our memory verse.

Clothespin number cards

Letter L collage
Getting ready to write the letter L

Color matching puzzles

Vocabulary cards she helped cut out.

Letter L sort - capital and lower case.

"L" and "not L" sort.

She cut her memory verse into strips and taped it together.
I'm so glad I have this opportunity to teach Mackenzie.  We had such a good time and we both really enjoyed our quality time together since Meredith usually slept while we were having school.  And after only 3 days of school, Mackenzie has memorized her first verse!
Next week, the letter T!
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