Sunday, April 29, 2012

Funny Meredith, continued...

I tried to upload this video with the last post, but I must have been at my limit.  Besides blowing raspberries, Meredith also loves to chew on her tongue.  The other day, after every bite of food, she would chew on her tongue for a little bit.  Here's hoping that means teeth are in our near future!

Funny Meredith

Meredith blows raspberries (aka: spits) all the time.  Sometimes its just for fun and other times its out of frustration.  She concentrates so hard when she does it that we had to get it on video!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer jobs

I went to visit my former co-workers this week and the question that was asked the most was if I liked staying home.  The answer is always yes!  What I'm really looking forward to is this summer!  The more I've thought about it, the more excited I get.  Do you know that I have worked every summer since I was 16?!  My birthday is in February and I'm pretty sure I had a job by March or April just after my 16th birthday.  That's how I paid for gas and some extra activities with friends when in highschool.  In college, I didn't always work during the school year, but summers were where I could work full time and stock up my bank account.  Just for fun I thought I'd make a list of all my past summers and jobs.

16 - resale shop
17 - resale shop
18 - baby sitting - summer before college and this was probably the most relaxing summer job I had.  Watching 2 boys, ages 9 & 11, all summer from about 7-3 every day.  I was able to go to the pool with them, take them to putt-putt, play outside...just have fun in general and still be home by 3:10 in the afternoon to do whatever I wanted with my friends the rest of the evening.
19 - doctor's office - we had half days on fridays, so that was nice, but otherwise an 8-5 job
20 - christian bookstore - college station.  This wasn't too bad since I didn't have to work every day, but half of my shifts were for closing at 9pm.  I didn't like have to leave work that late. (A safety issue, not a sleep issue).
21 - home designer - college station.  Actually for the first 6 weeks of summer I was at home planning the wedding, but after the wedding, I went back to work.
22 - architectural studio - at least they didn't open until 9 and we didn't live too far, so I didn't have to wake up early.
23 - same architectural studio from the previous summer.  I only worked for about the first month of the summer and then summer design studio kicked in and we were doing a design build project 24/7!
24-31 - Architecture Firm - normal 8-5 job with overtime before the recession 3 years ago.  I think a couple of these years I didn't even own a swimsuit - that's how fun my summers were! ;)

And finally the summer of age 32...stay at home mom.  I'm so looking forward to this summer.  It's not that I want to do a ton of stuff or go on vacation.  I just want to enjoys sprinklers, pools, play groups and warmer weather with the girls!  Let's just hope we don't hit the record 3 digit temperature highs we did last summer!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Flashback: Chicago

In 2007, Brandon's youngest brother and sister-in-law were living in Champagne, Illinois, so Brandon and I took a few days off from work to visit them.  We all stayed in Chicago 2 nights and had fun walking the city.  One of my favorite pictures from our visit is at Millenium Park under "the bean".  Here's a picture of what it looks like from a distance.
I love the distortion when you are underneath the sculpture.  I can see myself several times in the picture and yet it's not so obvious that you see the actual camera in front of my face!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unintended learning game

My parents bought and hid cute little Easter "eggs" in the shape of bunnies, chicks, hippos and pigs.  When we were leaving their house, my mom asked if I wanted to keep the container that they came in.  At first I said no, but then I thought maybe we might be able to use it for school.  The answer is yes!  It's a great puzzle game and she doesn't even know it!  She loves to put them all back and it helps her to recognize the outline shape of each "egg".  Excellent!

Here's the empty container.  Can you see how the ears are different?  That's the only difference she has to tell them apart.

Although, it is a little hard to find that very small difference on a clear plastic tray over carpet that doesn't really have any depth or shade variations.

All finished!

Lesson learned: just about everything can be a learning activity!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Worm

Meredith started crawling a few weeks ago.  Just after her 7 month birthday.  She doesn't crawl on her hands and knees, but it's not all army crawling either.  I've labeled it "The Worm".  I think it's really cute and she can move pretty fast.  She loves trying to get the wind up little bunny and chick my mom bought her for Easter.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Camping...our way.

Brandon set up the tent last weekend.  Not in the backyard as some might, but in the playroom.

This is my kind of camping...air conditioning, full bathroom, no dirt and my own bedroom somewhere else!  We kept the tent up Saturday through Thursday when Mackenzie finally wanted to play with her doll house but couldn't because the tent was blocking it.  While it was up, she played in it, watched movies (the door opening faced the tv), took a nap.  Now it's in a pile in the office waiting to be folded and put back in the garage only to be pulled out in another 5-8 years. ;)

We registered for the tent when we got married 11 years ago.  I wanted to be that wonderful wife that went camping with her husband and did all of those outside activities in the wilderness that I thought he liked to do.  But, as it turns out, that's not me.  I really have no desire to do that.  I know some peole love to camp, but I am not one of them.  Brandon has used the tent a couple of times over the years...outside, but not me.  I think this past week might have been the first time I had even seen the tent put together.  It's very nice and very big.  Thank you to whoever bought it for us 11 years ago, it's really a nice gift. 

Maybe as the girls get older, Brandon can take them camping.  Or, take Meredith camping, since I can tell that Mackenzie is a lot like me.  Brandon doesn't like me assuming Mackenzie is like that until I let her try it out.  Maybe next time we'll put it up in the backyard and let her try camping outside.  That way if it's a disaster, they don't have to go very far to calm her down...and I can sleep in my own bed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RRSP: Letter K

Our RRSP unit reviewed the letter K, number 13, and sight word "your".  Our memory verse was, "Keep your tongue from evil." Psalm 34:13.  I remembered my post last week and tried to do more hands on activities this week with Mackenzie and for the first time in several weeks, we actually did school 3 times!  It made for a great school week and we both loved it. (I also took pictures of 90% of what we did, so beware...)

Last weekend we put up the camping tent in the playroom, so for two of the school days we had school in the entry way, where our table and chairs were temporarily placed.  I think the change of scenery helped make it more fun.  

She colored her color, quite scribbley (is that a word?), but she didn't complain, so I'll take it. ;)
Practicing for the letter K on one day and actually tracing the K on another day.
She really likes cutting and taping our verses.  She insists on laying down to measure it next to her every week!
 This was her craft for our memory verse.  She had me color the tongue and she colored and glued the eyes and nose.

"K" activities:

She loves using the magnets.  One of these days I'll buy magnets that actually match the size of the circles on her page, but until then, she's content with all of the different sizes.  Who knew stuff from grad school 8 years ago would still be useful?!
 I was struggling with the letter K collage, so I googled, "k collage items".  On one of the links was a list of different K crafts.  The minute I saw kool-aid, I knew it could work.  Looking back, we probably could have painted with kool-aid, but I chose to use it like glitter.  We traced the letters with glue and then poured the kool-aid on the glue.  Mackenzie wasn't thrilled with the powder that floated in the air into her nose/mouth.
 But she did like how it looked when it was finished.  The uppercase K had kool-aid sitting on it for quite a bit longer than the lowercase K, so I guess that's why its filled out more.
Afterwards, we made kool-aid.  Mackenzie wouldn't drink it.  She did, however, eat a kool-aid popsicle we made.  Apparently those aren't the same even though I poured the glass and the popsicles out of the same pitcher.
I found these blue glass stones in our closet and we used them to count and make the letter K.  She enjoyed sorting them into the cups and making rows and other shapes.  She even pulled them out again later in the week just play with.  I think she used them as pretend food.
Using sheets from Confessions of a homeschooler, we worked a color puzzle about kites and rolled a die/used a key to create a kite.

Lacing the kitten took time and she wanted to stop, but I made her complete the task.  I kept praising her for doing so well and convinced her she had to continue doing it to see how the string would get shorter and shorter.  That seemed to work.

Our extra unit that I incorporated this week was about spring and rain.  This was perfect since it rained on 2 of our school days!

Spring/Rain activities:
She loves these roll and graph activities from 2 teaching mommies.  This graph had a cloud, rain cloud, rain, lightning, tornado and rainbow.  The other graph we did on Friday was about spring time.
This was size sort from Our little Monkeys.  In this picture she had already sorted smallest to biggest and I asked her to sort biggest to smallest.  The first thing she did was switch the two end pieces, so this is her now switching to of the other pieces.  She's getting much better about just seeing the sizes as opposed to checking them beside each other every time before putting them in order.
We tried rhyming words again this week.  It's a little over her head, but we are going through it anyway.
A size sort of lightning.  She sorted all of the biggest ones first, then the small and saved the mediums for last. (2 teaching mommies)

The best thing about Friday was the rain/hail storm we had.  I know what you are thinking..."huh?"  When you are doing a unit on rain, it's perfect when a big storm blows through.  We took a few minutes to watch it and then I quickly picked up some of the hail so she could take a closer look.
She touched it and of course said it was cold, to which I explained that it was ice.  After we finished our lesson, she reached into the cup again to feel the ice and was surprised when nothing was in it but water! ;)  Another lesson - ice melts.
 Spring time puzzles...
And our last activity was a cotton ball experiment (2 teaching mommies).  We observed a dry cotton ball and then put the cotton ball in a cup of water and then observed it again.  It was a great lesson on clouds filling up with moisture and then letting it go as rain.
So, a busy, busy week, but it was a very, very good week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Flashback: Brandon

I'm sure Brandon is thrilled that I now have CD's of all of his baby and childhood pictures!  I'll try not to post too many of him if he doesn't want me to, but I just couldn't resist posting this one and another one because guess who looks just like him!

I saw the photo of Brandon and instantly thought of Meredith.  No wonder everyone tells me she looks like him! ;)  This next one reminded me of her also.

Now if only one of them would look like me! ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another book!

A couple of weeks ago, I uploaded my 2010 Blog book to the printer and received it in the mail last week.  This one is huge and has 270 pages! 
This is my third blog book and I try to make one better than the last.  This time I made sure to enlarge more of the really good pictures so that it's not all about the writing, especially since my blog isn't all about the writing. ;)  I also added a line to the posts with videos that said to see the CD.  I still have to make the CD, but I plan to add it to the back of the book so that someone can actually see the videos when they want.  I've already "slurped" ( terminology) the posts from 2011 and will start working on that soon.  So, I'm slowly catching up with myself but at the rate this year is already flying by, 2012 will soon be over and I won't have finished 2011.  This time I think I'm going to add a snapshot of what my blog actually looked like on the internet and maybe even web addresses for the blogs I have book marked.  I'm sure I'll find something else I can do to make it better as well, but for now I'm sticking to the same layout as the other books.  2011 was another big year of posts like 2010, so it will be a big book as well.  Blurb says it can publish up to I think 400 sheets in one book, so I'm still ok for now unless I blow up every picture on it's own page!

The other book I just started working on again, is my pregnancy book with Meredith, like the one I made for Mackenzie.  I figure when they are older they may or may not want these and I'd hate for Mackenzie to be the only one with a book.  So, I copied Mackenzie's book and am slowly changing the stuff for Meredith.  It took my 3 years to finish Mackenzie's book, so I figure I have still 2 1/2 more years! ;) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

pool time!

Last week I promised Mackenzie I would pull out the small blow up pool for her to play in in the backyard.  Friday I spent forever blowing up the pool and filled it up with the cold, cold water from the faucet.  I should have filled it up and let it sit in the sun, but I didn't, so Mackenzie is the only one who "swam".  I actually tried to put Meredith in the pool, but she was NOT happy about it, so she and I sat in a lawn chair near the pool.  Since it's a very small pool and the it was very cold water, this is about the furthest Mackenzie got down in the water!

She's really into posing for pictures and it always looks like she's doing a disco dance!

We only stayed out for maybe 30 minutes and most of the time she just stood up and danced around.  When I tried to take her picture she wanted to do a passe (as best she could do standing in water):

and then a curtsy:

We can't wait for summer so that we can swimming in a real pool with warm water!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

RRSP: Letter A, number 12, sight word "away"

This week we reviewed the letter A, the number 12 and sight word "away".  Our memory verse was 'A soft answer turns away wrath.' Proverbs 15:1.  Again, I had a lot more planned to do this week, but I may or may not have spent most of Thursday reading Hunger games and therefore we only had school on Monday and Friday. ;)  Either way, I did remember to take more photos this week, so even if we didn't do as much as we planned, we have it all documented!

Mackenzie didn't really feel like coloring this week and I didn't push her.  The picture makes me laugh because she colored the child's face green which makes me think the child is sick.  Whatever floats your boat, right?
She used her new Easter pencils to practice drawing the lines for an uppercase A.  I think it might be the first time she's used a pencil, since we normally use a marker or crayon.  We had to pull out the pencil sharpener and everything.  It was a mini lesson on pencils and how they can write in different shades of grey.  I think it was pretty interesting for her and we drew and colored all over that sheet to show what a pencil could do.
Coloring apples...
For our collage we put animal alphabet stickers on our A's.
We transferred pom poms to different ice trays, but I need smaller tongs that she can use one handed.  We found these at the dollar store, so it's not like a spent a fortune on them...and clearly we still used them.  She really liked this activity and it reminded me that I need to do more of this hands-on/motor skills type stuff.
Tracing A's with our pencil...

Confessions of a Homeschooler also has some great letter of the week stuff, so she did a pre-writing sheet with apples on every page.
We cut our vocabulary cards.  It's always interesting to see if she knows the 9 vocabulary words that start with the letter of the week.  This week we had 3 new words: astronaut, armadillo, ambulance.  I know she's seen a pretend ambulance at the children's museum and I think we've talked about an astronaut.  The armadillo was completely new, but by coincidence, the Cat in the Hat cartoon happened to have an episode about armadillos this past week, so she did get to learn a little more about them.  Maybe next year when we do the "A" unit again, we'll make a trip to Space Center.
To go along with our memory verse, we sorted nice (soft, gentle, kind, loving) and not nice (loud, rude, mean, harsh) words...
Even though our number of the week was 12, we did a matching game for the numbers 1-10.  I separated the numbers and the shapes and let her match them.  All on her own she decided to start with one and continue to 10.  I think she's starting to recognize the concept of quantity relating to the number.  On several, especially the lower numbers, she went straight for the matching shape card and then counted the shapes to confirm it was right.  She really liked doing this.
Since the uppercase and lowercase letters are different, we did a letter sort.  She even did really well considering some of the lowercase a's were different.
One of her new favorite things is playing with these blocks.  We first created the A and then we stacked and knocked over several things we built.
I'm trying to incorporate more of the hands on stuff, but sometimes I forget to add them during the week.  After looking back at this week, it's clear that I need to not forget!  She'll get the writing thing down and will have years of doing worksheets.  I need to focus a little more on the games and exploring new concepts.

Next week we review letter K and we'll be 1/2 way through the alphabet!
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