Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello Monday

Hello ABC Books!

Is it really that time again?  Time for my little boy to turn eight.  This year I asked if he would like me to make his ABC book online, at Snapfish or Shutterfly, where it would have a really professional cover and pages.  He said, "No, Mommy, I like when you make it with your hands."  Priceless.  I remember Justin saying he thought I should make the books through the boys fifth birthdays.  How can I stop when they look forward to them so much, and it is a way for me to show them how much I love them, creating something just for them, with "my hands?"

It was like I was reliving Jonah's past year of triumphs and successes as I went through the last year of pictures on my computer.  I did things a little differently this year, and instead of going through the alphabet and trying to find a picture for each letter, I simply started with last year's birthday party, and went through the pictures throughout the year, picking the ones I felt captured the best memories of Jonah's twelve months as a seven year old. Baseball games, holidays, celebrations, firsts--it's all there.  When I look at the row of ABC books on the bookshelf in the hall upstairs, I feel a sense of peace, knowing I have captured important times from each year of Jonah's life.

Baby books and scrapbooks are great, but feel so overwhelming to me.  Yes, Bruce will definitely have a baby book (I'm even keeping up with the progression of the belly), but I will probably stop at one year this time, and do ABC books from there on out.  There is something so "do-able" about an ABC book.  It has a beginning and an end, and a due date.  When I told Jonah I was worried I would not get his ABC book done by his birthday, he acted like that might be the end of the world.  So, even if I have to pull an all nighter, it will get finished.  And the great part is, when it's done, it's done.

It's funny that I actually used the word, "do-able" in my last post about ABC books.

So, I have a little time this afternoon, before the boys get home and the craziness of Monday afternoon begins (homework, dinner and rush off to baseball), to work on Jonah's book.  And I can't wait!!!  Could I be (and maybe should I be) doing other things like laundry, cleaning, and organizing?  Sure, but this gift is important to Jonah, and I will do everything I can to make sure it is finished by his actual birthday.  I'd much rather be scrapbooking than houseworking anyway.

So, I made myself a Cafe Mocha with my handy Magic Bullet (because all projects like this one are more fun with a coffee drink) and got to work.

paper for background and letters
"scrappack" from AC Moore--love these because they are small scraps of coordinating colored paper that works perfectly to back my pictures
stack of pictures I printed at Costco
yummy cafe mocha

cutting surface
ready to go!

And I have one finished page--yay!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finally Friday

I woke up this morning feeling totally exhausted.  And while there is a very good reason for my extreme tiredness (after all, I am growing a human being inside myself right now), I did not want to start my day, at 6:15 am, feeling at the end of my rope.  So, I decided today is a good day to celebrate all the awesome things that have happened this week.  And there are a few...
Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened this week is the boys saw Baby Bruce move.  Carson was giving me a check up and listening to my belly with the stethoscope when Bruce started moving around like crazy.  Not only did Carson and Jonah get to feel him moving, they saw my tummy jumping around around as Bruce did back flips in there.  They thought it was awesome...and the experience made the whole baby in the belly thing a little more real to them.  Yikes!
 I cleaned out Jonah's closet.  It was a long and laborious process (and I still have to go through his hanging clothes), but at least I can walk in here now!
 I walked a little one back to his room twice a night, the whole week long, and he still managed to find his way into Jonah's bed at least two out of the five nights.  Jonah is such a good, protective, big brother.
 I saw my two little guys out the door each morning.  Today, they wanted to wear football jerseys to school.  We laughed about how reflective they are in their LL Bean bookbags.  Fancy!
 This is Munchie.  Munchie went to have a haircut with me.  He also went to the grocery store with me.  AND I received a text from Mrs. Camp, Carson's teacher (THE BEST Kindergarten teacher there is) to make sure I was taking good care of Munchie.  This is the picture I sent her.  Munchie peeking out of my purse.  (Carson and I made Munchie out of felt.  He is a caterpillar who velcros to a butterfly (two separate pieces), and can fold into a chrysallis to go through his metamorphosis.  Carson and I were playing with him this morning and Jonah said, "Hey, Mommy, that's really cool!"  I guess my kids do appreciate my attempt at craftiness sometimes.)  

The idea for Munchie came out of a Big Backyard (National Wildlife Federation for kids) magazine.  Follow the link to make your own.
 Here is the text I received back from Mrs. Camp.  Did I mention how AWESOME she is???
 Yum.  Part of my lunch.  A banana covered with Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter.  This is not your ordinary peanut butter.  You gotta try it.  Thanks, Amber, for introducing me.  This is one of my all time favorite snacks now!!!
 BTW, the only place I have found it is Harris Teeter.  They have other flavors but I have not tried any of them.  If you have, let me know, OK?
And, last but not least, I finished this book!  EXCELLENT book.  Justin will be so glad to know I have finished it because now we can finally trade!  He read Greater, by Pastor Furtick, and I read Soul Detox, by Pastor Craig Groeschel.  I highly recommend this book, and Justin has had so many great things to say about Greater.  Can't wait to start it!
 And this is what we did with our early release day.  Stallings Park Splash Pad!  This was our first visit to the park since they remodeled it and it did not disappoint!  An added bonus is that we saw some of Jonah and Carson's friends from school and the kids had a blast playing together!
 And the perfect way to end a perfect day at the park is with a Frosty from Wendy's.  Yum.  Not sure why I spend lots of money at fancy yogurt places when I can treat myself and the boys to these tasty treats for $2.82.

And that's my Friday.  How's yours been?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello Monday

Some things to celebrate today...

Hello kids who get up happy, excited about going to school, laughing and playing as they get dressed (how did I get so lucky?)

 Hello apples--that we picked-- sitting on my counter, waiting to be made into something delicious, or just enjoyed by themselves as a snack.

 Hello running with Leah, my great friend and neighbor, and enjoying beautiful 80 degree weather.

Hello, belly and baby inside who is now waking me up with his kicking.

Hello new decorations for a new space to relax, play music, and unwind.

Hello to my newly purchased messenger bag that we will use as a diaper bag!  Yay!  And this bag is on its way to me thanks to my awesome friend, Amber who texted me at 3 am (she was up nursing her sweet baby girl AND thoughtfully thinking of her friend),  to let me know that Lindsay, at The Pleated Poppy, had listed new messenger bags in her shop. 

Hello to a new week! 
 It's going to be a good one!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dinnertime Helper and Summer List

Yesterday my kids seemed kind of antsy when they got off the schoolbus.  They wanted to watch tv and I wanted them to play.  At first they didn't want a snack and then they did.  Carson wanted to make a pirate map, and a pirate telescope, and a treasure chest.  No one seemed to be happy.  And then I thought of it.  Our summer list.

Now, I am not usually one for bribing my children.  And certainly not with money or toys.  But this summer, I had to have a plan to make sure we got some reading and other school related activities into each day.  So, I created a list we called our summer list.  I'd link it to this blog for you to see all the things we put on our list, but I have not yet mastered the art of linking to a word document.  Maybe I'll figure it out in all my spare time now that my boys are in school (ha, ha).  Anyway, some of the things on our list: Which Way USA (great Highlights program featuring books and maps about each state), Devotional from church, make a list of things that are blue, do your brother's chores, make a list of all the baseball players you can think of, write a letter to someone special.  I told the boys that once they finished their summer list and earned stickers for each activity completed, I would give them $5 to spend at Target.  They also earned $5 for completing a reading sticker chart.  So, at the end of the summer, they had the potential to have $10 to spend for their hard work.

Well, they easily earned the stickers for reading, because my boys read every day.  I feel very lucky to have kids who just like to read.  I guess they come by it honestly since Justin and I love to read as well.  The other chart was a little trickier.  So we did not finish it.  Well, when they got home from school yesterday, there was a Lego magazine from the previous night's mail waiting for them.  They immediately began leafing through it and picking out what they were going to buy with ALL their money.  When I asked what money, they told me the money they earned from their lists, and I had to remind them that they hadn't actually finished their lists.  So, they got to work, ready to knock that list out.  Who said bribery is a bad thing?

Jonah saw: make a maze out of paperclips on the list and his response almost made me fall out of my chair.  "Why haven't we ever done that before?  That sounds like so much fun!!!"  So, I got out a bag of colored paperclips I had been saving for this exact moment and Jonah got to work, creating his maze on the island in the kitchen.  It was time for me to start dinner, so I got busy myself.  And what followed was 45 minutes of intense concentration by Jonah, and curiousity from Carson that turned into his own paperclip project.  Of course, Carson's idea was not a maze, but we turned it into a learning project.  Carson has always marched to the beat of a different drummer, but the point of the activity was that it be a creative outlet, and Carson's idea certainly was creative.

This is Jonah's maze.  If you look closely, you can see the word FINISH spelled with paperclips near the left side of the picture.  START can kind of be seen at the right side.  Jonah asked me to time Carson going through the maze.   He just used his finger to find his way, and then it was my turn.  I offered Carson my watch to time me, but he wanted to count, which was fine with me--I never argue with a chance for my kids to practice counting.  I am certain they learned to count to 30 while we were in a tattoo phase and they had to count to 30 before lifting the paper towel off their arm after applying the press on tattoo.  We had to leave the maze on the counter until Justin got home today so he could have a try.  So far, Carson is the fastest at getting through the maze.

And, here is Carson's masterpiece.  He wanted to make something out of the paperclips, but not a maze.  My rule following child (that would be the first born), was concerned, thinking Carson wouldn't earn his sticker if he did not do what the list said.  I told Carson he could still earn his sticker if he wrote a sentence about the object he made out of paperclips.  Well, he did even better than write a sentence.  He drew a picture to go along with it and his sentence was the start of what is going to be a great story!  For those non-Kindergarten and first-grade teacher readers out there, his sentence says, "Once upon a time there was a cowboy with a metal lasso."  That would be the lasso he made out of paperclips.  And I love his horse.  Clearly he got his artistic abilities from his dad.  And thank goodness. :)

So, I thought there may be some mommies out there, struggling with the same thing I struggle with--how to entertain your kids while making dinner.  Try this one.  You'll be amazed at the fun kids can have with some paperclips!