Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy birthday, Dr Suess


March happens to be the month of Dr. Suess' birthday. We have plenty of his books around, so we had to do something fun. During Spring Break, we made Cat in the Hat pizza for lunch and read a couple books while it cooked. What fun adventures we can have with books!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A liitle wind

We were out enjoying the sun (and north Texas wind). The next day would bring a cold front, complete with snow. I love Texas!
Usually, the wind is too crazy to attempt kites, but today seemed just right. It took a little while, but we got the hang of it eventually.
The next day, Popi came to visit and brought NEW kites with him- a poison dart frog for Beth and a lizard for Jacob. Can't wait to try them out!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lightning?



(not my picture, found somewhere online)
Last night, driving home from church, there was a lovely storm, complete with pouring rain and lightning. As Beth talked on and on about the lightning.
Then, Jacob, who always has to be part of the conversation, said, "I see McQueen." Okay Jacob, sure you did.
Beth continues on and on about the lightning, still, what would happen if it hit the car, the house.....
Jacob continues telling me he saw McQueen. I didn't see McQueen anywhere.
OH, wait a minute! LIGHTNING McQueen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dallas Aqarium

Ok, so it's no surprise that I'm behind in blogging.
Back in February, I had the joy of going on a field trip with Beth's class to the Dallas Aquarium. Now, I vaguely recall going in high school, while in Dallas on a choir trip. Apparently, it's changed a bit, and then I realize how long it's actually been since I was in high school. Ugh! Ok, back to the field trip.

Thanks to Texas law, the kiddos had to ride in their boosters, even in the church van. What a hoot seeing the teacher (young, newly married, no kids) with a van full of car seats. Hahahaha!

The kiddos were so excited to be there, to see all kinds of animals. They couldn't keep still or use quiet voices. It was great to see their enthusiasm! They really enjoyed the touch screen information spots, though I don't think they stopped touching long enough to actually read.
There was so much more than just fish to see! A sloth hanging out in a tree (but you couldn't touch him), alligators and crocodiles, manatee, turtles, sea lions, flamingos, a jaguar having lunch... How incredible God's work to create animals that look like plants, to protect themselves from predators. The colors, the sounds, the variations of similar animals as they adapt in different parts of the world. How awesome is our God! I love that I could talk to Beth and her buddy about God's hand in all this, instead of just talking about the pretty animals.


When Beth had found "Poison dart frogs" on the map, we knew we'd have to check them out. Poison frogs and snakes have fascinated her for a while now. (We are also moving onto dinosaurs, Helen Keller and Ancient Egypt) It's incredible that such small creatures have such powerful poison in them!
When I dreamed of being a stay at home mom, attending field trips with my kids was one of the things I looked forward to most. I'm so grateful I was able to do that, enjoying the time with Beth as she saw new things with her friends.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Precious Moments

Beth and I share a love for reading. It has been a real joy to take turns reading chapters in a book. The anticipation as one chapter ends, wondering what will happen next, but having to wait until the next day because it's bedtime now. While Kevin doesn't quite have the love of reading we do, he's at least understanding enough to let me do Beth's storytime most of the time, so I don't miss the story.
A couple weeks ago, I was looking through the storage tub of books I still have from my teaching days, looking for books about Ancient Egypt (one of Beth's new intrests), when I happened upon Sarah, Plain and Tall. Oh, I remember a teacher, I think 5th grade- Mrs. Bellue, reading it to our class. It's such a great story. This time, I read the book to Beth, a chapter or two a night.
When we finished enjoying the great story, I told her there was a movie too. I remember watching it with my mom, a Hallmark Hall of Fame, of course. Netflix didn't have it, so we headed for the library. We were put on a waiting list and only waited about a week. Today, we finished watching the movie. I just loved as she would recognize a scene, word for word, from the book. Remarkably, the movie was much like the book. We had some great talks about emotions- things you can read on people's faces, not necessarily on pages of a book. We talked about the difference in time periods- all the horse drawn wagons, that they wore the same dresses almost the whole time, why dresses were so long (which would be right up Beth's alley), why women carried umbrellas....
These are precious memories that I love creating with my sweet girl. I love that we share the love for books. I love that we can talk about them and compare them to the movie. I love that, today, I ignored the long list of chores, and spent precious moments with my daughter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A wonderful weekend away

Kevin and I had the WONDERFUL opportunity to get away for a weekend. Every couple months, we manage to get a date night (just a few hours) when my parents come to visit. That's really not enough. My parents offered to keep the kids last month, so we could have a weekend together, 2 whole nights and days, just us. Okay!!!
For our first trip away in 3 years, we planned a simple weekend in Galveston. Despite having lived near Galveston most of my life, I didn't really learn to appreciate it until I moved away and missed it. It's a great tourist town, even in winter. We went to Moody Gardens for a great exhibit about immigration through Galveston. My great-great grandparents on my dad's side immigrated through Galveston in the early 1900s, so I was very interested in this. We ate where we wanted, with no worries about kid food choices. We ate our food warm because we didn't have to cut anyone else's food. It's the little joys in life, you know? On the Strand, we walked around, checked out shops and enjoyed the most delicious treats (see picture) at the old fashioned soda shop and confectionary La King's. It really is a must-go if you go to Galveston! It was so nice being together, finising a conversation without being interrupted. We took naps, watched non-Disney tv, played cards, went to a movie, and just really enjoyed ourselves. We're going to make it a point to get away more often than every 3 years.
Thank you, Yaya and Popi, for playing with the kids and offering us the chance to recharge our batteries!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day out with Thomas



Every little boy's dream- meeting Thomas the Tank Engine. Jacob loves Thomas. We have wooden train tracks and engines, we have diecast engines, we have dvd, we have books... You get the idea. Thomas is a big deal at our house. I found out that Thomas makes a visit once a year to a train station about an hour from us. I knew we had to go! Yup, he was thrilled, "THOMAS!!!!!"

This was some setup! We met Sir Topham Hatt, the director of the railway. Beth wasn't interested, and Jacob would only go with Daddy. The kids got temporary tatoos- Jacob picked Percy and Beth picked Rosie. We played with trains and tracks. There were blocks and puzzles and stamps too!

We colored pictures. There was a great Thomas bounce house and slide. They giggled with delight! We even got to watch a little of a Thomas movie for a few minutes. We all enjoyed the toy train setup. I think it had at least 4 trains running, some complete with steam coming out and whistles blowing.

But, the best part of all was a ride on a real train. Thomas pulled the train along the track. A 30 minute ride in a passenger car. Beth wondered why we were going so slow. She loved that the conductor punched our tickets, even though it wasn't fancy like on Polar Express. Jacob was just mesmorized that we were riding with Thomas. He loved dancing, clapping and singing along to Thomas's songs coming through the speakers. At the end of the day, they both said riding the train was the best part.
Toot! Toot!

After we'd visited all the activities, we headed to the gift shop where they got little view finders for visiting all the spots. Then, Jacob picked a Thomas flashlight (he now has to carry all 3 of his flashlights everywhere). Beth picked out a Thomas art set. We feasted on wonderfully greasy fair corn dogs. Even Jacob, my picky eater, liked his. We had found all the fun we could handle, so it was back to the car to head home. Some were a little more tired than others. :)

Oldies but goodies

I came across and old memory card and found these fun little videos from sometime last summer.
video

Now he counts to about 16, usually skipping number 14. He can say all his ABCs. The B-I-B-L-E song is a favorite, especially the screaming at the end. Thanks to his fun Sunday school teachers, we try to sing louder and louder.

video

This has always been a fun game the kids like to play. As I'm making the bed, we pile all the pillows on the floor. Then the kids shout "cannonball" and run and land on the pile. Jacob wasn't very enthusiastic for the video, though.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Busy learning

When Beth was about 2 1/2, we started doing "lessons". Of course, it was simple then, like counting and letters. She still loves doing lessons with me, so I try to get in two or three a week. Now, we practice addition facts, cursive writing and are starting to explore some other fun things.

Last week, we had some science fun. We tried to make clouds. With warm water in a jar, cover with a metal pan that's been frozen super cold. Clouds (vapor) are supposed to form in the jar. We tried a couple of times but couldn't get it to work. Oh well. Next week, we'll use that stinkin jar to make a rain gauge.


A couple weeks ago, we did some music lessons. We read a story about Mozart and listened to some of his music online. Maybe we'll plan a field trip to the symphony. Oh, that would be incredible to watch her soak in all the instruments and sounds. She's gone to my church choir practice lately (mine starts early than hers), and I've been showing her the markings in the music that tell me how to sing. She just couldn't understand how I could sing a song I've never heard before.

Then, we had an art/music lesson. I found samples various types of music online, had her close her eyes to listen and pay attention to how she felt listening to it. Then, I had her draw a picture while continuing to listen to the music. Here's what we drew. Please forgive the sideways pictures. No matter what I do, they upload sideways.
Jazz

Lullaby
Old Rugged Cross

Since she was 2, she's been playing games on the computer. Of course, now, she can get online, go to her bookmarked sites and do her thing. We've been reading The Magic Tree House series of books- two kids travel in a magic tree house to far away times and places to solve a riddle or mystery with the help of books. She's soaking them up (and I'm really enjoying them too). When she completes each book, she can go to their website to take a quiz about the book. She earns a "stamp" for her "Passport" as she travels the world over time through the magic of these books. The series has opened up so many new things to learn about. They also have Research Guides that give lots more information about some of the topics in the stories. We've also gone online to learn even more. Here's Beth learning what her name would look like in ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics.
I just love watching her enjoy filling her brain with new and exciting information. I love the conversations we have about what happened long ago and how it's different now. I love when she asks me "what does that mean?". These moments and conversations are so precious as I hope to mold her into a person with a lifelong love for learning and reading.

Monday, March 1, 2010

All about J

Not long ago, we learned about the letter J.
"Capital J, little j, J says 'juh, juh, juh'" and
"J is for jaguar, jar, juice, jellyfish, jacks, juggle and Jacob!"
We love this little project, talking about the letter and what starts with the letter. All week, it stays as his placemat, so we can talk about things while I fix his food.
Also for our J week, we had snacks of jellybeans and jello. The kids weren't really crazy about either one.

We made a jellyfish. Or, I did. He helped for about 2 minutes.

We did jumping jacks,
talked about Jonah and the whale,
sang John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, and
learned a poem about counting colored jellybeans.
We're having fun learning letters! I think he's most proud about "J is for Jacob"