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Category: 3 yr old

Rhyming Swing

For the past couple of weeks our neighbor boy, who is a 2nd grader, has been coming over when we’ve been outside in the afternoon. At first this was a little annoying as sometimes I felt like I was baby-sitting him while his grandmother stayed inside, but it has turned into a fun activity time for Cutie Pie. They often kick the soccer ball around, play hide and seek (finally someone is getting through to Cutie Pie that you don’t yell “Here I am!” as soon as the person finishes counting!) play in the sandbox and swing.

Now, Cutie Pie loves to swing on his swing set and will sit there for hours if you let him. At first Neighbor Boy told Cutie Pie he was too big for our swing set, but Cutie Pie was pretty convincing in telling him “Mommy is bigger and she swings, so you can too!”, meant in the nicest way, I’m sure! Neighbor Boy was in for a treat because that day Cutie Pie decided to start a new game…he says a word and you have to rhyme as many words with it as you can. Once you say a word that doesn’t rhyme you have to use that word as the one to rhyme with. That’s the nice thing about this game – there’s no loser! Neighbor Boy chimed right in rhyming after I rhymed the first word and the game went on for about 15 minutes!

Neighbor Boy has been coming over quite frequently since this game was introduced. They kick the soccer ball around, play hide and seek, then head back to the swing. As soon as they start to swing Neighbor Boy spews out a word that Cutie Pie has to rhyme with. It’s almost like this little tradition that goes on now. And I have to say I don’t really feel like I’m baby-sitting anymore! Sometimes Sweet Pea even tries to get in on the action repeating words they say and getting all proud that he is one of the ‘big boys’!

Daddy’s Little Helper

Seems like lately I’ve been blogging about activities that have required a little bit of preparation rather than something that has just sort of happened in our everyday. So here’s something that was totally unplanned, and actually something we were trying to prevent Cutie Pie from participating in since it required there to be a pretty large gap in our deck.

We are replacing some boards on our deck and Cutie Pie wanted so badly to help his daddy. To keep him occupied, and away from the gap between the boards, Cutie Pie first tried his hand at the real hammer, hitting nails on the boards Hubby was going to pry up. Then when Hubby was ready to nail down some boards Cutie Pie helped his daddy with the nails. He was told how many to pull out of the box to hand to daddy and counted them all by himself! He was so proud! Through this little activity of helping we realized he can count much higher than he could even a few days ago!

Now, I was saying to my husband today that my blog just doesn’t seem very exciting. He decided to give it a go and below is his rendition of what happened. Warning, it will now include peril and great exaggeration.

As a result of taking some boards off the deck, there was of course a giant gaping hole with about a forty foot drop to the sharp pointed rocks below. Cutie Pie was blissfully yet precariously perched on the brink of the giant gaping hole, happily counting the nails – the sharp, steely 2 1/2 inch galvanized decking nails. Daddy turned his back on Cutie Pie for significant periods of time as he placed the boards and hammered nails into them with reckless abandon, swinging the heavy claw hammer to and fro wildly. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” I screamed, as I witnessed Cutie Pie innocently toddling towards the precipice, inches away from the flailing hammer, carrying two handfuls of extremely pointy nails!

Fun with Magnets

I found this magnet kit a few months ago. Every once in a while I’ll get it out with Cutie Pie. The other day he wasn’t feeling too hot, so we got it out again. He always has so much fun with it! This particular day all he wanted to do was ‘go fishing’. The kit came with plastic fish, paper clips, these little boxes that you can fit wheels to or make into a boat, some round magnets, rectangular magnets and a couple of posts and sails. We of course, couldn’t go fishing without having a boat in the water!

Cutie Pie had great fun fishing with his magnet hanging from his ‘fishing pole’ and counted the fish as he caught them! (There were 10, he counted to 7 correctly! This was his idea!) His coordination improved more and more as he played! We also used a rectangular magnet in the boat as well as under the table…to make the boat ‘go’! These are pretty strong magnets to work through an inch of wood!

We talked about why the magnets moved away from each other to make the boat go, as well as why they attracted the paper clips. At one point he said “they are together like a train!” in relation to his magnets sticking together. Quite often when we play with his trains, which have magnets, Cutie Pie will call out ‘reverse the polarity!’ and turn his train car around so it will hook up to the next in line rather than push it away. We talked about how those are held together or pushed apart by magnets and how the ones we were playing with were the same thing, just not attached to his trains.

I’m thinking these magnets will be pulled out quite often now that he is able to reach the drawer they’re kept in! (Although he knows he cannot play with them without me or his Daddy around…we already lost one TV from him using his train magnets against the screen!)


For whatever reason I haven’t taken my boys to a nearby pond park for a while now. We went there last Friday, when we were all going stir-crazy after a bout with colds, just to get out of the house. We had such a great time! It ended up being such a wonderful field-trip that would never have gone so well if I had tried to plan it!

The park has 3 small-ish ponds with a walking trail of about 1 mile surrounding them. Cutie Pie insisted on walking which was fine with me. Shortly after we started we saw goslings near the trail. While this was extremely exciting, it got even better when an elderly couple walked past and offered crackers for us to feed to the babies! (Of course, I made sure we didn’t get too close…Mama geese are pretty vicious, I hear!) Sweet Pea was more than content to watch from the confines of his stroller, but Cutie Pie had a blast crumbling the crackers, tossing them and watching the goslings move closer to eat. We noticed there were 3 distinct sizes of goslings and 6 ‘parents’ watching, so I assumed this was 3 families spending time together. Cutie Pie liked that!

Not that much farther along we saw a blue heron, still, standing on both legs (which seemed unusual) standing on a land-bridge between two ponds. We didn’t get too close then, but as we came around the second pond we saw him walking down the bank. We walked a little closer and again he stood ever so still, then quick as a flash he was flying low over the pond. Cutie Pie immediately found the similarity between him and a pterodactyl flying (well, at least in the videos we’ve seen!)! It was so neat to see his excitement and hear him talk about how they were alike and different! Then he was wondering what we were going to find along the banks of the next pond! This was gearing up to be some nature walk! All the while Sweet Pea was pointing and talking his gibberish punctuated with a few understandable words like birdie and splash.
On the banks of the next pond we found a small beach-like area, although no swimming is allowed here, but this beach had rocks! What child doesn’t like to throw rocks into the water! They searched very thoroughly for rocks to throw and seemed very careful to not throw when they were near each other, which totally surprised me!

I’m pretty sure it took us at least an hour and a half to walk the entire mile, but it was so worth it! In all we talked about the geese, the goslings, the blue heron, how green the trees looked with the new leaves, the red-winged black birds, the sounds of the geese and birds, the different ways all the birds walked, even why the geese poopy along the trail was green! (Sorry, but it was a main point of conversation as this was on an episode of Dinosaur Train (PBS)…) This pond park is also near a major highway and so our conversation was dotted all along the way with “There goes a …(tractor trailer, digger on a truck, dump truck, blue car, pickup truck, etc)” which passers by found rather amusing.

We went back to this pond park yesterday with gramma who was visiting and saw the geese and goslings, but not nearly so close, we didn’t see nearly as many trucks. Only the blue heron lived up to our memory of our last visit by walking all along the shore of the first pond as we walked, as if he was taking his walk with us. It was still very fun, but the memory of our first trip there this season will be hard to replicate!

We Play!

We Play ideas are being shared at Childhood 101 today! Here’s my contribution!

Who doesn’t love playing in a box, especially when it’s full of toys?! This is a gathering spot in our house for all the toys that don’t have a specific home, as you can see Sweet Pea playing with a pom pom snowman and a toy screwdriver. Cutie Pie did this at Sweet Pea’s age, too. There is a fascination with being in something while playing! Wish I could join him as he’s having so much fun, but I’m just not small enough! The concentration this kiddo has amazes me! As well as his coordination! After this pic was taken he was using the screwdriver with a toy screw – this was taken at about 9 months. Not only did he start walking at 9 months, climbing on top of the table at 10 months, spinning on a sit and spin at 11 months (then proceeding to stand on top of it after using it the correct way only twice!) at 17 months he’s almost able to put on his own socks and shoes! His big brother is still trying to accomplish that!


We had a very busy weekend! The highlight of the weekend was going to see Thomas the Tank Engine at a railroad museum a little drive away. Cutie Pie is sooooo into trains we couldn’t not take him even though we did this same trip last year. Somehow he seemed to know it was about this same time last year and has been asking about going on a train for a couple of weeks now. We tried to surprise him, but it didn’t entirely work! The pic we took of me and the boys in front of Thomas didn’t come out very well, so I opted not to include it (since I figured everyone knows what Thomas looks like anyway!)

The guys checking out the railroad museum display

It was pretty impressive! Cutie Pie absolutely loved seeing all of the train cars running. The railroad museum itself had tracks and a model running the entire length of an old railroad station. It was a little overwhelming with all the museum pieces all around the outside walls as well as the tracks, so we just concentrated on the tracks and trains. What a neat memory for Cutie Pie as he still talks about this place from our visit last year!

The boys looking out the train window – no Sweet Pea didn’t escape, although he tried very hard!

Pretend Dinosaur Play

For some time now Cutie Pie has loved to pretend to be a dinosaur, running through the ‘loop’ in our house roaring. Sweet Pea usually wants to play along and until this week has asked to be up in our arms running after Cutie Pie as he pretends to be a tyrannosaurus rex or triceratops. Occasionally he’d offer a roar or two. Sometimes Cutie Pie is cunning enough to manage to get piggy back rides and have us pretending to be dinosaurs too!

The other day both kiddos were running the loop, daddy was running the loop, and they were all trying their best to get me to run with them. However, someone had to manage the camera! They were stopping here and there to ‘eat trees’ (the chair, the couch, the curtains) when they were the taller dinos, and the bushes (the carpet) when they were the triceratops and ankylosaurus. It was a hoot seeing Cutie Pie ‘lumbering’ through trying to imitate how he’s seen dinos walk in the videos he loves!

What really got us laughing this time was Sweet Pea would occasionally drop to the floor and try to ‘eat’ the carpet. He got giggling so hard it was incredibly hard not to join him ‘eating’ because it just got him laughing even more. He was so proud to be playing along. So before I knew it, there lay Sweet Pea, Daddy and Cutie Pie, all face down on the living room floor laughing, ‘eating’ and having a really great time! I actually got laughing so much it was hard to take a picture! It’s so awesome seeing Sweet Pea grow, not just physically (which amazes us every day) but emotionally and socially as well! (The pic above is of Sweet Pea mid-roar with a smile on his face as his Daddy was ‘running the loop’ as a dinosaur!)

I love spontaneous family time, especially when it’s kids driven!

We Play!

It’s We Play Tuesday at
Childhood 101 again! This isn’t really a play area, but rather something Cutie Pie absolutely loves to do and thinks it is play, which carries to him using his imagination in other rooms of our home! He LOVES to help his Daddy make pancakes and waffles. Here they are making waffle batter for our Sunday night breakfast for dinner. To us, making dinner can be a chore (especially with little hands wanting to help!), but to him it’s exciting and fun to make something we eventually eat! Not to mention he’s working on his coordination, counting skills and following directions, as well as learning about patience as the food cooks! Notice he’s using his left hand…and Sweet Pea is keeping himself occupied playing in the pots and pans cupboard – he’s in the lower left corner!

We have to keep reminding ourselves how Cutie Pie sees it when it takes an hour to make something when without it help it usually takes half that time! Of course we pile on the praise when we eat the creation! (Especially when it is something he decided we should have for dinner!)

Many times throughout the week we find cooking utensils, pots, pans, bowls, anything they see us cooking with (that is not dangerous and is within their reach) in other rooms of the house having obviously been used as something – whether pretend cooking-related or not! – and often are treated to imaginary tacos, coffee, hot cocoa, cakes, cookies, you name it! Cutie Pie has quite an imagination and we truly believe his imagination for cooking comes from his love of helping his daddy cook!
Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up!


We went to see the local philharmonic orchestra concert for kids, called OrKidstra, on Sunday, which just so happened to make a very nice Mother’s Day for me! Cutie Pie had been once before, but not Sweet Pea! We weren’t sure how he would do, but he did great!

My husband was a professional bass player in a symphony and is now a string music teacher at the grade-school level, so musical exposure for our kids is very important to us. We don’t want them to only hear classical, or only jazz, or only pop radio music; only clarinets, only basses, or only voice. We want them to hear it all and to discover what makes ‘good’ music and why they like the instruments that attract them.
The OrKidstra performances are by the actual philharmonic members and are about an hour long, and geared toward exposing children to various classical musical pieces. (They also understand that children are children and can’t be expected to sit like grown-ups for these performances so the atmosphere is a little more relaxed with babies crying and parents taking toddlers to the bathroom while they are playing.) We heard the Babar story previously and yesterday we heard Firebird, in addition to two other pieces, and saw a light puppet show while it was being performed. Sweet Pea was a little antsy by the time it was performed, but cuddled contently in my arms as I stood in the rear of the auditorium and held him so he could see the puppet show. Cutie Pie sat with Hubby and listened intently to the story as it was told before the performance and Hubby repeated it to him as the piece was performed. He was mesmerized!
I love having opportunities like this to expose my children to more than what I had as a child. I love to encourage a love for the arts! Something like this also teaches patience, social skills, listening, music appreciation and so much more…plus it’s a nice treat for the parents who love this music and can’t get out to concerts!

Listening game

My teacher hubby is awesome!! I’ve been having a bit of a time recently with Cutie Pie listening to me and doing what I ask. We have talked about how this is a sign of respect and honor for his parents (mostly this happens to me, though) and when he doesn’t heed our directions or requests he isn’t honoring us or showing us love. Tuesday was no exception, in fact it was quite intolerable to me. It might have been worse as Sweet Pea had been sick for the few days prior with the stomach bug and was receiving a lot of extra attention as a result. Cutie Pie was definitely acting jealous.

At any rate, when Hubby arrived home I was telling him about our day of Cutie Pie repeatedly ignoring my directions and in general being disrespectful and he almost immediately started playing “The Listening Game” with him. LOVE IT! Sometimes he just gets how to deal with things in a way that is corrective and yet fun. So Cutie Pie spent the next 10 minutes showing me how good a listener he is by Hubby giving simple fun commands like touch your head, touch your toes, run to the living room and when you get back jump up and down 3 times. Cutie Pie even put Hubby through the paces, very creatively I might add! A little while later Hubby jumped right into playing the game and Cutie Pie listened and followed every direction. We’ll see how this effects his listening with every day things, but I’m thinking Cutie Pie might listen a little better as he never knows when he’ll be playing a game!

Hometown Heroes

Wednesday was Hometown Heroes day at our local Community Center. I signed Cutie Pie up for the 1 hour time to ‘meet’ the various large equipment and fire-trucks they use around our village. I told him about it the day before, gave him an idea of what trucks might be there – he was SO excited! We talked about how big things would be, how we’d love it if the dump truck would raise it’s bed while we were there.

When we got there Cutie Pie saw his best buddy right away and was so excited to see the big trucks: a fire ladder truck with it’s ladder all the way up, a dump truck, a big tractor mower, a street sweeper, a paramedic truck and a police car! We talked about what each vehicle does, who drives it. We talked about the paramedic and police officer and how important they are and even met them! Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea got to get in the paramedic truck and police car and turned on the lights. They were the ‘bad guys’ in the police car and seemed to think it was very funny!

I think Cutie Pie liked seeing everything, but would have had a much better time had the digger not shown up and parked a little too close to where we were standing when we first got there (by the passenger door of the big dump truck, above). I was a little surprised they didn’t ask us to move for safety reasons. After that he was a little overwhelmed, and seemed very afraid we were going to leave Sweet Pea somewhere and became very overprotective of him. Ask him today if he had a good time and he’ll say “I had fun, except for the scary part.”

Naked Runner!

Poor Sweet Pea woke up ill this morning with the stomach bug. It is so hard to watch your little 17 month old get ill and not be able to make them feel better. Cutie Pie never got sick at this age, actually hasn’t ever gotten sick to his stomach. We feel very blessed in this area. I love to cuddle my boys, but it’s hard to find pleasure in it when it’s a limp little boy with a high fever occasionally throwing up and always miserable.

While Hubby was at church Cutie Pie wanted to play outside as it was another absolutely gorgeous day. (Hubby was playing guitar with worship today and the people Cutie Pie would have been comfortable sitting with while his daddy played were also ill, so he stayed home with me and sick Sweet Pea.) Sweet Pea hung out limp and hot in my arms while Cutie Pie dug in the gravel pit and looked up as the occasional jogger strode by. All of a sudden I heard him say, rather loudly, “Mommy, a naked runner!” I was rather shocked and was debating whether to look or not, when I decided I should look in order to more effectively talk to him about whatever it was he saw. It was actually a man wearing only white running shorts who was obviously trying to show off his physique, but who was in dire need of a tan! Of course I went on to discuss with Cutie Pie the benefits of using a quieter voice. But inside I was having quite a chuckle! Cutie Pie definitely brings joy to my heart!
Also today we let our worms go. It’s been a fun week watching the dirt slowly mix with the sand, but we only saw one or two worms the whole week. When we tipped the container over to let the worms “run wild” we saw them all huddled in the middle of the pile. Cutie Pie said he wants to bring more worms in. We’ll give it a few days and maybe do this again, this time making our layers a bit neater.

Sunny Saturday and pee

Today was absolutely beautiful outside! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the air was warm and the kiddos were sharing! I even had a full night’s sleep last night! A Saturday couldn’t get any better – unless of course I also had a maid to do all the cleaning for me and was relaxing by a pool!

The previous several nights Cutie Pie has been scaring me out of my wits! He’s just over 3 years old and seems to be dropping his afternoon nap. Hard as I try he will not stay in his room for quiet time, which is a whole other story, but on days he does not nap or have a quiet time he seems to wake up anywhere between 11:30 and 3am! Of course, he does not go to his daddy’s side of the bed…he comes to my side where my green clock radio has this eerie sort of glowing effect on his face and hair that when startled awake by his sudden crying or even just opening my eyes while rolling over can really take a toll on a mom and make me lose 9 lives (if I had 9!) You’d think by him not getting enough sleep he’d actually need more…why can’t this be true? I am very thankful that Hubby did get up a few times and help him back in bed and that he no longer comes downstairs on his own and turn on all the lights, but nonetheless this leaves us less than awake in the mornings! It’s just been too long since Sweet Pea woke up at night so we’re not used to interrupted sleep. I don’t mean to brag, but he was sleeping 11 hours at 3 months old! (Unlike Cutie Pie who woke up almost every 2 hours to nurse until he was at least 9 months old!)
At any rate, most mornings when we ask Cutie Pie why he was awake at night he normally says “Daddy’s snoring.” Or, in addition to this explanation, “I thought it was a rhinoceros snorting.” (Yes, Daddy knows he snores like this.) The last time he woke up at night he said it was because he knew he had peed in his pull-ups and wanted ‘new pants’. This leaves us wondering why no one ever explained to us that we would be woken up at night, similar to when he was a baby, when he was getting the night-time pottying down. I mean, when you have a little baby everyone seems to think it is perfectly acceptable to offer long, drawn out stories of their experiences giving birth or with their little baby’s colic or what have you without any request for such explanation! I suppose it makes perfect sense that he would wake us up when he has a pee issue, but in this instance it would have been nice to have been told by one of those well-meaning people about it! I know, I’m rambling, but I did mention in my sub-title that this blog would include a ramble or two!
I am very proud of Cutie Pie having been so accomplished at his toilet training, and will be equally proud when he gets the knack of nighttime toileting (probably in about 5 years or so!), but I’m not really looking forward to the lack of sleep that may go with it!

Interest in…

Today Cutie Pie actually initiated playing some of the ‘games’ I’ve printed for him in the past (he used to spend hours reading so I thought he’d be interested in tot paks and lap-books and printed pieces with trucks and dinosaurs). We matched dinosaur halves, dino colors, and ended up talking about a PBS show called Dinosaur Train. Cutie Pie then surprised me by wanting me to help him write some of the dino names from that show. He’s never asked to write before!

There were two challenges, however. First, Sweet Pea was stealing a lot of the puzzle pieces and crawling all over me while Cutie Pie and I concentrated on matching halves. I think this might have been why Cutie Pie switched gears and wanted to write on the chalk board. Second, Cutie Pie is showing a strong tendency towards a dominant left hand and I’m right handed. This experience made me realize I’ve got to figure out how to help him write/draw by holding his hand in a way that he can still see what he’s accomplishing. I’ve thought about how to actually help him before, but seeing him stretch and bend to see what we were doing really brought home how important it is for me to figure out how to help him best.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather. Sweet Pea seems to be learning more and more every day. Today he was sitting on a ‘big boy’ swing and asking for me to push him. He was also bent over it swaying back and forth like an older child does. He’s speaking more and more clearly and his vocab is growing by leaps and bounds! I love it!

Dirt & Worms Monday

We went to the library today and found another great hands on experiments book for the boys called Science Play! by Jill Frankel Hauser. This one is for ages 2 through 6. This one is separated into topics with several different activities in each topic as well as conversation ideas, More to Explore sections and Practical sections that carry each idea on. Since we’ve been finding lots of worms lately we decided to get dirty!

Over the weekend my dad gave us some plants from his garden which I planted today. While digging we found 5 or 6 HUGE earthworms, which Cutie Pie carefully picked up and, after examining them closely to make sure I didn’t “slice them”, he placed them in a clear plastic jar which we had filled alternately with moist soil and damp sand. We watched them wiggle their way down between the soil and side of the jar. Then we placed old leaves on top and covered the whole thing with a dark towel. They now reside on our kitchen counter, set out of the way, where we can peek at them to see if they are doing anything. We are expecting to see the nice neat layers we made be a little less neat as they make themselves at home. Of course, we plan to release the worms in a couple of days back to the garden, where, hopefully, they’ll help my plants live!
As a side note, the rest of this section of the book talks about things like adobe molds and mud pies. I’m hoping to make imprints of items and talk about how dinosaur footprints have been found in the mud in similar fashion. We’ll see if he stays interested.

Exciting Weekend!

Friday was spent at the park as our playgroup wasn’t able to meet due to illness. The kids had a blast and Hubby was able to spend some much-needed time taking care of his car and working on his music, getting it ready to send to possible publishers. When we came home Cutie Pie informed Hubby that he ‘pretended to share’ while in the sandbox with other boys and girls. Not entirely sure what that meant!

Saturday we all piled into the car after an extremely hectic morning with kids full of anticipation and headed to Grampa’s house 2 hours away. The kiddos promptly fell asleep and woke up with only half hour to go in the drive, so they were completely ready to go crazy in the country! We had lots of fun playing in the piles of sand and dirt before heading to my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary party. They are such a special couple, parents to 5 beautiful grown girls, and grandparents to a gorgeous young lady in college and 5 good looking young men ranging in age from 2 through 17, and they hold a very special place in my heart. There is so much love in that family it is ridiculous! This was the first time in years that I have seen all of my cousins at one time and it was such a memorable experience! The boys, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well, especially Sweet Pea! Poor Hubby ended up taking them to Grampa’s house after getting to eat only 2 bites of his dinner! And poor Cutie Pie had been looking forward to the cake all week and didn’t get to have any!
Instead of writing about all of our experiences today and risking boredom, I will just share a couple of songs and a quote from Cutie Pie that I heard throughout the day and share throughout the week some of the fun things we did at Grampa’s and at Gramma’s as well as pics.
“B – I – N – G – O, B – I – N – G – O,
B – I – N – G – O, and BINGO was his name-o!” He’s never sung this correctly before!
“Tricky Baby, Tricky Baby, Tricky Baby, Tricky Baby,
Tricky Baby, breaking all the stuff”
He sang this at the dinner table for no apparent reason.

“Is it Family Game Night?”
We’ve never had Family Game Night before! It was a blast because he requested the three games we have, got them all out and set up, then Sweet Pea climbed all over the board while Cutie Pie made the game pieces move this way and that saying they were swimming! Where does he come up with this stuff?!

Family Thursday

We had quite an adventure today! We got together with my hubby’s brother and his family for the day which always makes for a Crazy Cutie Pie. They live about 45 minutes away and we never seem to get the opportunity for the kids to just play as we usually meet somewhere in the middle at a restaurant. Today was so fun!

Cutie Pie absolutely loves his big-boy cousin (6 yrs old) and little sister cousin (2 1/2) and goes wild when he’s around them, mostly him! Usually Sweet Pea goes into separation anxiety mode and takes a while to warm up to them. I was a very happy Mommy when the day was done.
Sweet Pea actually left my arms within a few minutes of arriving at their house and wandered into the next room all by himself and stayed quite content for a good majority of the day. Cutie Pie went crazy, as usual, and had a lot of time playing with his older cousin. Little Sister cousin stayed quite content while playing near Sweet Pea. We had no breakdowns at leaving time, no out-of-hand issues. It was so pleasant! AND the mommies got to visit while the daddies got to hang out while watching the kids!
With Hubby being home this week Cutie Pie has had a little more attention, as well as a little more discipline. I know many moms can relate, but being with the kiddos all day it is so hard to use Time Out as often as I know I need to. Often I take the easier road. Every time Hubby is home on break I am reminded of how better things can be when Cutie Pie is gently reminded to be a good boy through the use of Time Outs in addition to verbal reprimands. I can more clearly see that he is a boy who likes routine and also one who sometimes tests the boundaries without realizing it, but who craves to know where they lie. I wonder if it is my ‘duty’ to be tired and worn out sometimes by the discipline so that I will remember where they lie as well…and will remember how tiring it is so that I’ll be pushed back to the discipline until I’m no longer tired. (Read ‘until my child has children of their own and uses that same discipline with their children and understands why I used it with them.’) Of course, I could always be wrong…

Took a Day Trip Tuesday

We went to the zoo! We love the zoo. Usually it’s just me and the kids and a few other people there, but today hubby went too, along with a zillion other people! It was so fun…we even played on the playground, climbing through ‘fallen trees’. Here’s Cutie Pie in one:

Cutie Pie really wanted to see the birds. They have a great bird room where some of the birds get right down on the floor or stand on the rock wall that separates you from the ‘duck pond’. The kiddos were excited to see the spoonbill and the ducks. We could see their feet really well as they were so close to us, so we started talking about who is probably faster in the water. Cutie Pie chimed right in with ‘the duck’ and when asked why he explained that they have webbed feet and the spoonbill has long toes instead! I was impressed! Sweet Pea kept saying ‘uck, quack’ repeatedly! We ended up staying in that room longer than we had before watching the ducks. Of course, we managed to get to all the other animals, too, but it was rewarding to know that all these times we talk about little things, like webbed feet on ducks, when we don’t think they are necessarily listening, that maybe they really are!

Gentle, Gentle!

The first weekday of spring break with Daddy home! It was so nice to have him around our home today, even if he was doing chores like letting the snow blower run out of gas to store it and changing the oil in the lawn mower. I was so surprised these activities didn’t attract more attention from the boys than they did, and am thankful because I know activities like this aren’t my hubby’s most favorite things in the world and are made more unpleasant by little hands that want to help, but belong to boys who aren’t big enough to!

We have had several opportunities lately to practice being gentle. Since the weather has been so nice out we are seeing our neighbors more often and are finding more worms! One dear neighbor is a mostly-retired lady who has 2 adorable dogs who all obviously love our boys. Cutie Pie is getting quite a throwing arm on him as Sammy-boy will continually bring a ball to be thrown, and this was actually how Cutie Pie started playing with a ball way back when! He’s usually pretty gentle petting the dogs as we’ve been working with him for a while on this. Sweet Pea, well, he’s learning and often you can hear him whispering ‘genly, genly, genly’ as he tries so hard not to hit little Cathy, but pet her instead. Luckily she loves little tots!
On Sunday I posted a pic of Sweet Pea gently smelling a flower. Today this turned into ‘genly, genly’ as he swatted the flowers as hard as he could. He’s also quite adept at finding worms in our sandbox. Poor worms! Usually he’ll pick them up and give them to Cutie Pie, of course squishing them in the process. Today, however, he managed to put one in Cutie Pie’s hand alive! Cutie Pie and I reminded Sweet Pea to be gentle. He immediately started trying to pet it while saying ‘genly, genly’ then grabbed it and squished it, looking up at me with the biggest grin on his face, again saying ‘genly, genly’! It was adorable in it’s own way, but my heart goes out to those little worms he will find in the future. Wiggle away now, poor little worms – quickly as fast as you can!

Easy-going Saturday

We spent Saturday morning as a family running errands, but the evening having lots of fun at a local children’s museum, which is hardly a museum at all! We have a family membership and visit quite frequently on weekend evenings which is much less crowded than days during the week. This is a hands-on museum with lots of activities engaging children in learning without them realizing, which I love, plus it is just so much fun, for parents, too! It’s really a neat place as they try to incorporate activities for a variety of age groups in each area.

Here are pics from two of our favorite places within the museum:

The Fish Tank greets the kids upon entering. My boys will stand and stare for long periods of time, almost forgetting the rest of the fun is there! Cutie Pie is starting to notice all the

starfish throughout and points out how the fish differ from each other in size or color as well as how they move differently from each other. Sweet Pea seems fascinated with their movement and often follows one fish with his finger for as long as he can. Cutie Pie seems so stricken with this aquarium that we are thinking to going to the larger aquarium a few hours drive away from here to expose him to other creatures he hasn’t seen before!

I’m not sure what this kind of xylophone is called, but it is in the Berenstain Bears area. Not being very familiar with the more recent Berenstain Bears material, I’m not sure if this is something in their stories or not. At any rate, the kids pick up the wooden balls and place them into the holes, then turn the nob to make the belt move, when each ball falls it hits the xylophone. The idea is to get kids to think about where to put the balls to make a song, but most kids just roll the balls letting them fall where they may and turn the nob creating a song all their own. My kids love this and will go back repeatedly, and get really excited just hearing their creation. Of course, we often find ourselves keeping an eye on the kiddos, but plunking the balls down on our own trying to play the nursery rhymes we know!

Anticipating more day trips this week and lots more fun!

Is it really Friday?

Well, today didn’t feel like a Friday, although I know it was because we did all the typical Friday things. It was just one of those days where you just feel numb and go through the motions. I call it Mommy tired.

We went to Open Gym at the community center and since it was so gorgeous out barely anyone was there which is a good thing because at times there were so many children there my kiddos couldn’t play much with anything before another child assumed they could start playing with whatever it was my kiddos had. Then we went to the grocery store just before noon (big mistake!), wearing my sunglasses because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Of course, Cutie Pie helped getting everything into the cart for me, all except the breakable food items. He’s become such a great help at that when he’s not trying to pull everything off the shelves! His little brother was a little less agreeable, but made it through the store without standing up in the cart-seat, maybe because I bribed him with a cookie, or the snack samples set up throughout the store, I’m not sure…When we got to the checkout I realized how violently Cutie Pie had been putting the food into the cart, though, and had to apologize for the items that had been broken open, which I’ve never had to do before and was very embarrassed. Luckily the clerk understood. When we walked out of the store I realized I had to run. It was pouring!
Ever had one of these days? I know it could have been much worse, and I’m thankful it wasn’t. It did get better, but not so much better to be anything exciting to write about. Since my hubby is a teacher and next week is spring break here I’m sure I’ll have some day trips to write about next week for more interesting reading…

Dancing Raisins

Cutie Pie was excited by the last experiment in the kitchen so I thought I’d try some more. I thought since the last experiment we did was seeing what floated we’d stick with that theme and since it was a dreary morning it was the perfect time to try one!
Cutie Pie happened to be eating raisins and I remembered seeing on-line somewhere a while ago an experiment with floating raisins. We filled a medium size mason jar about 2/3 with water, added about 1/3 cup of vinegar and then, one tablespoon at a time added about 3 tbs of baking soda. Then we plopped in a little-boy-size handful of raisins. Then the hard part came after an exciting fizz…we waited for about 1 or 2 minutes. The raisins started ‘dancing’ up and down and danced really well for an hour, and kept dancing off and on for longer than that! Both boys loved watching them while we had our morning snack! The part they seemed to find the most interesting was the bubbling when the baking soda was added.
Cutie Pie wanted to know why they danced and I gave him the simple explanation, because at 3 he couldn’t really handle more. I explained that when the vinegar and baking soda mixed it made lots of bubbles, called carbon dioxide, which attached themselves to the raisins and they lifted the raisins up to the surface. At the surface the bubbles popped and the raisins fell to the bottom where more bubbles attached to the raisins and they floated up again. Of course, I could have said that vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, but I think that might have been too much information for him at that point!

Rice Box: Blessing or Curse? Blessing, for sure!

Have you ever had the need to get some things done and need something to distract the kiddos? I had that need today. I pulled out the trusty ‘rice box’, a plastic storage bucket filled with 20 pounds of uncooked rice, to keep the boys out of trouble while I tackled some much-needed housework (as in the bathroom hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned for weeks – I do hope I’m not the only mom dealing with this!)
The rice box in my home is a blessing. Just the hint that it might be pulled out draws the boys out of their fits of ‘that’s mines’, ‘Mommy, I need you!’ and a little one pushing at my knees to be picked up into two charming blondes playing nicely together and even (yes you are reading right) sharing! Rice is poured, spooned up, measured, put through a funnel, dug up by little front loaders and emptied by dump trucks. Rice is the perfect occupier.
The rice box in my home is also a curse. With a large tablecloth under the rice box in the kitchen, hoping to catch all the rice that accidentally makes it out of the box (notice Sweet Pea sitting IN the box!), somehow rice is strewn all over – from the kitchen to the living room to the upstairs bedrooms to the downstairs bathroom. Sticking to everyone’s socks, even peeking out from under the cushions on our couches. I have got to remember to not let the boys go in the box with their pants rolled up! That’s the culprit!
Ultimately, however, the rice box is a blessing. My bathroom is shiny clean. The laundry is clean (although it is still in piles waiting to be put away). The living room and family room are dusted, vacuumed and tidy. Two boys are happily worn out from playing in the rice using their imaginations for more than 2 hours spent in it throughout the day (as well as playing ‘construction’ outdoors for more hours than that!) Definitely, the rice box is a blessing. This Mommy feels in control of my (downstairs) surroundings at the moment. At least…until tomorrow!

Breakfast for dinner Sunday

I love Sundays! Not only because we get to go to church and worship The Lord, but also because we usually have breakfast for dinner on Sundays! Yum! I’m a breakfast person! Tonight it was pancakes! Love it!

I’ve been having fun hopping around all the blogs listed at 5 Minutes for Mom‘s blog party, meeting new bloggers and finding lots of blogs I never would have found otherwise and am encouraged by how many Christian blogging Moms I’ve met or seen out there!
I have one note for today, which is actually about something that happened with Cutie Pie yesterday. For a while now we’ve been using Time Outs for punishment with him. Remember he’s only just over 3. He loves to be around others, so for him Time Outs are major. Just threatening one makes him behave. One thing he has been going into Time Out for is hitting his brother. When helping put his toys away last night I ‘bopped’ him gently on the head with a stuffed animal and made a cute noise. He immediately turned around and told me to ‘go to Time Out for hitting me!’ I was astonished! I immediately realized how seriously he was taking his punishment and the crime, even though he would repeatedly hit his brother after being in Time Out. I obeyed and went, he came in and talked with me: “Mommy, why are you in Time Out?” “For hitting you, Cutie Pie.” “And Mommy, will you hit again?” “No. I’m sorry.” “I love you Mommy, you can get out of Time Out now.” It was so hard not to laugh, but so rewarding, in a funny way, to know that he understands what Time Out is!
Don’t forget to visit 5 Minutes for Mom and join the party if you haven’t already!

Wacky Weather Wednesday

To say our weather has been beautiful lately is very much accurate. To say it’s been temperamental lately is also very much accurate! I’ve been told this is very typical for this area this time of year. This morning it was rainy, gave way to beautiful sunshine and 70+ weather until just before lunch, then it became very windy and dropped 10 degrees with thundershowers within an hour!
We did get outside after doing our chores this morning – to hang laundry and to play! Sweet Pea thoroughly enjoyed the sheets hanging on the laundry line. This is only the second time this year I’ve been able to hang out our laundry, the other being just yesterday with only short items hanging up. He quickly became enthralled with the blowing sheets and tried to catch them. It was so entertaining watching him figure out they wouldn’t always be in the same place every moment! The squeals of delight when he caught them were too precious!

Another surprising moment was when Cutie Pie almost happily said goodbye to a neighbor boy who he had been playing with in our ‘gravel pit’, grabbed his wagon and started touring the yard ‘helping’ by picking up every stick he saw, all without being asked! Do you like the way he’s wearing his hard hat? Safety first! The other day he had been overjoyed to help me weed and all throughout the winter he was always so happy to help with his toy shovel. Lately he’s also been very responsive when getting into mischief when we distract him by asking him to help with something. I am very much enjoying this personality trait (even though I know it is probably really a phase he is going through) and just don’t want it to end! I wonder what he will take upon himself to help me with tomorrow? At any rate, I heap on the praise and encouragement and love seeing the joy reflected on his face!

Does it Float?

We went to the library last week and found this neat book of experiments called Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects Easy Activities for Young Children by Janice VanCleave. I was browsing through it when we got home and saw an experiment called ‘Why do Boats Float?’ in the Forces section and thought Cutie Pie seemed to be in a good mood, so why not try an experiment with him?! The funny thing is, we tried this experiment last week as described below and in the pics and since then have seen something similar on No Time for Flashcards as an idea.
It was rainy and on our way in from the library the boys splashed in THE PUDDLE that always seems to form between the car and the house. When I glanced through the Big Book this idea caught my eye simply because we had talked about how we sink whenever we splash in that puddle. I waited until after lunchtime, and then got out the bowls, playdough (we didn’t have modeling clay) and gathered some items to see if they could float. This, of course, caught the boys’ attention.

After talking about why the ball of playdough sank and the boat shape we made out of the same ball of playdough floated, Cutie Pie helped plunge items into the water to see if they would float. I figured a cotton ball would float, but would get water-logged and end up sinking and quickly looked around to see what we could place it in to keep it dry. I saw the plastic Easter eggs and decided to put tape over the holes and place the cotton ball in one. This was great because it reinforced the idea of the boat floating. After seeing that it floated, Cutie Pie directly took the cotton ball out and plunked it in the water and helped it sink! Then we decided to test some slightly heavier objects to see if they would float in the egg, but sink on their own.

As a final step we took two bowls of the same amount of water. To one we added about 8 tbs of salt, the other was left alone. We took an egg and placed it in the first and it sunk (in the pic above he has 2 eggs – he had to have one of his own!) We placed it in the saltwater and it floated. We then talked about how the salt helped the egg float. I think this was a bit over Cutie Pie’s head, but he was right there trying it with me and I think he was trying to follow it all! He definitely had a good time, and both he and Sweet Pea ended up with wet sleeves, but it was worth it!
I discovered Cutie Pie does like hands-on learning, but more from an experimental aspect than just doing. Maybe I will try to revisit some hands-on things we’ve tried in the past and concentrate more on talking about what we’re discovering rather than the process of discovering it.