Thursday, July 31, 2008

A quiet moment

My sweet boys enjoying a hot summer day reading on the porch. 

With all the bugs and humidity, it didn’t take long for me to suggest we come back inside or at least go sit in the screened porch (it even has a fan). 

Summers here are rough and there’s at least another month of this heat.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A quick cake...

A former student of mine turned 13 this week.  She has been coming over twice a week during the summer helping me with the kids.  It has been fun to spend time with her.  I was her mentor for several years and then I had kids and it became more difficult to get together with her.

She has been interested in baking and cooking, wanting to show her big brother up at home.  We made pizza together a month ago and she took dough home and made pizza for her family.   So, when she came over yesterday, she mentioned not having a cake yet, as they were waiting for her brother to come home from camp today.  So, we decided to make a cake together.  We baked it yesterday and decorated it today. 

She made the polka dots.  I made the butterflies.   We did the buttercream together.  It’s not the best beginner recipe, but tastes great and I had all the ingredients.  She chose the colors and did most of the icing herself.  I couldn’t help myself and did a little smoothing of the icing.  Oliver and Benton even got in on the action.  They helped put on the polka dots.  Oliver was very excited about Aderyl’s cake and when she left with it he kept yelling “Happy Birthday Aderyl!”  They have really enjoyed her company this summer.  I wish I could say I got a lot done while she is here, but it’s ok.  I really enjoyed making this cake with her.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brought to You by the letter Ff and the number 23...

Somehow, while Gramma was here, the Letter of the Day began.  Although Gramma went home yesterday, Oliver walks into the kitchen this morning and says “What’s the letter of the day, Mom?”  “I don’t know.  What is the letter of the day?”  “Umm, it’s F!”  He proceeds to find the magnets and puts them on the board and asks what the number of the day is, which corresponds to the calendar day, even though the letter is completely random.  So we go check the calendar and see that it is the 23rd,  hence, the number of the day.

I have an alphabet chart (another leftover from teaching) with poems/songs on it and we turn to the Ff page and he wants me to sing it to him.  It goes to the tune Alouette.  I had some difficulties, but Oliver didn’t care. 

It feels a little like school, which is kind of funny to me.  I wonder how long this new ritual will last.  I love that he is interested and he can tell you words that begin with the letter of the day.    I  have an old classroom calendar I could hang up.  I really didn’t want my kitchen to look like my old classroom, but I will do whatever is of interest to Oliver. 

Benton recognizes letters too.  He likes to point them out.  Most are Os or As according to him.  He also enjoys singing his ABCs, not that any of us can understand him.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Everyone loves a wedding!

We went to a wedding!  Dan’s cousin, Tony married Amber last weekend.  Benton and Oliver stayed at home with Grandma while Dan and I went to South Carolina for two nights.  We had a great time.  I love that Dan’s family enjoys a good party.  The rehearsal dinner was great fun and the wedding reception was everything a reception should be including an open bar, good food, dancing, and a little karaoke by the groom. 

Dan and I really enjoyed our weekend without kids.  It was the first time I have left the boys overnight.  So, Saturday morning we slept until 10am!  Dan woke up and asked if the clock was right.   I wish I could say I slept straight through, but it was still nice to wake up and be able to fall back asleep.  We had planned to go for  a invigorating hike, but after sleeping in and highs in the 90s, we opted for a movie instead. 

After a Sunday brunch with the family, we headed home to the kiddos.  All and all, a great weekend.

Congratulations to Amber and Tony!  Thanks for letting us celebrate your big day with you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fun with Gramma

Gramma Kathy is here!  She’s probably already tired.  I haven’t been feeling well since she got here and she has been keeping our little guys busy. 

The funny picture of Benton is after a bath.  He loves those animal towels.  Both Benton and Oliver have to spend at least 10 minutes running around pretending to be the towel animal before they will put pjs on. 

Gramma is good about remembering the bath.  We are not as consistent as we should be.  Especially considering they enjoy baths so much.  Sometimes we just get too busy playing with Daddy when he comes home that baths get pushed ‘til the next day.

Anyway,  we did some fun potato print painting with Gramma.  My idea, but Gramma ended up with clean up.  Sorry, Mom.

We got the puppet theater (from my teacher days) out of the attic and put on a few shows.  Dan was probably the best performer, but Oliver is getting the idea. Didn’t get a great picture.  Everyone was too involved to pose for a photo.

Well, looks like I didn’t get an actual picture of my mom.  She’s been too busy trying to keep up with the kids.  It is great to have her here.  Although, I sort of feel like a slacker when she is here.  She feeds them, dresses them, changes diapers, plays with them and even does laundry.  I think she is better at this than I am.  I guess she has a few more years under her belt. 

Oliver and Benton are loving all the undivided attention GrammaKaffy (that’s how Oliver says it) has for them.  We still have another week with her.  I bet she’ll be worn out by them.  :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Alphabet Game

So technically, Oliver wouldn’t be eligible for preschool until 2009, but a few of his friends are starting preschool this year. So, whenever there is group of moms at the park or neighborhood playgroup with kids Oliver’s age, the question “where do your kids go to school?” always comes up. 

Most of the time I say he is young and avoid the whole thing.  Occasionally I say I am planning to homeschool.   Often, people seem to take this personally.  Kind of like the way they take a person’s decision to breastfeed personally.   Like I am judging them and their decision. 

Some people want to know more.  Sometimes I mention that I am/was a teacher.  That can actually complicate the discussion.  Moms nod their heads and assume that because I had a classroom of kids that homeschooling will be easier for me.  Maybe, but I won’t teach my kids the way I taught in school.  I have had a major shift in my thinking about how kids learn.  I could never happily teach in a regular ol’ public school again. 

When Oliver found these bean bags with the letters on them he decided the best thing to do with them was put them in order and he figured out a way for Benton to help.    So, the Alphabet Game was born.   Once the bean bags are in order, the second part of the Alphabet Game, includes saying the alphabet over and over and running the line and past it without messing it up.   My kids are crazy, but sure fun to be around.

The other is picture is Benton stringing beads, which is great for those fine motor skills and makes a fun necklace.  Painting, drawing, working with clay, singing, dancing, marching, hopping, reading etc.  Our kids do all those things because they want to, not because it is on the schedule.

Nothing wrong with a schedule, but it just doesn’t seem to work with my kids.  I have tried, but every day is different and I am ok with that.

I guess the advantage of having been a teacher of young kids, is the collection of children’s books I own and the 20 boxes or so in the attic that have school stuff in them.  I doubt I will use much of it, we’ll read the books for sure, and I’ll pull things out, like the bean bags, but I’ll let them figure out what to do with them.  It is more fun that way.  Actually, Oliver doesn’t really like it when I try to “teach” him things.  He likes to do it on his own.  Benton seems to feel the same way.

By the way, Oliver already knows more than the majority of my kindergartners did at the beginning of the year.  He has started spelling words and knows stuff like the sound “oo” and “sh” make.  If he were going to Kindergarten we wouldn’t begin until 2010.   I can only imagine what he’ll have figured out by then.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bagels and Bikes

Dan got tired of waiting for me to make bagels and he did it himself!  And they were good.  I think there are 2 left, but I am sure they will be gone tomorrow morning. 

Lucky me, hot fresh bagels, made by my sweetie.

Baking a new kind of bread for the first time is challenging, which is probably why I hadn’t tried the bagel recipe yet.  I really liked that I got to sit on porch reading while Dan made these great bagels.   Next time we’ll try some toppings.  You know, I can’t wait to make a cheese bagel. :)    My mixer was working so hard to knead the bagel dough.   The motor was burning hot!  I was afraid the mixer would overheat and seize up.  We ended up splitting the dough and it worked fine.  Anyway, that was really the only input I had in this bread baking adventure.    I guess I’ll have to upgrade my mixer...

Sunday was a good day.  It started with the bagels, followed by a family bike ride. 

It has taken me 6 summers (2 of which I was pregnant), but now I think I can tolerate the heat here, at least before noon.  After that, if I am outside, I better be in a pool, headed to the pool, or headed back to the air conditioned car or house. 

Anyway, at the end of May, temperatures got up into the 90s and I put my bike in the attic.  Well, last week I was sitting on the screened porch enjoying the beautiful morning weather and thought, “I should get up and do something fun.” So the boys and I went for a ride. 

I went again with Dan and the boys on Sunday, but I didn’t have to pull the trailer, so I got to go faster and farther.  AND I did it again this morning.  I sure prefer it to going to the Y.  I think I will try to focus more on bike riding as long as the kiddos are willing and use the Y occasionally.  Right now, going more than twice a week is too much for Oliver and Benton.

Sunday afternoon I had a movie date with my husband.  The kids hung out with their Nonna and Papa while Dan and I saw Hancock.  A fun superhero movie.  We brought dinner back for everyone and had a chance to visit.  All and all it was a great weekend.  A little of everything.

The best part, is that when Oliver told his dad tonight about our bike ride he said “Mommy goes fast like you.”  I like that, even if it is not true.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oliver wants another baby...

Oliver has been requesting some of the new baby books we read to him 2 years ago, before Benton was born.  He also enjoys looking at pictures of himself as a baby and those of him holding Benton as a baby.  He keeps trying to pick Benton up and carry him.  So, Saturday he requested the above picture.  He wanted to hold Benton like a baby.  Benton complied, briefly. 

Aren’t they cute? 

Anyway, I thought I would share these silly pictures with you  This is in no way an announcement or hint about another baby at our house.  I imagine all the talk about his friends getting new siblings has put the idea into his head.   It is fun to talk to him about babies, but I am not sure he would really be all that thrilled if he had to share our attentions with another little guy.  I know Benton wouldn’t be. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pizza and Movie Night

We love homemade pizza around here!  Saturday, Oliver suggested a pizza and movie night.  He also suggested we go to our favorite restaurant.  We thought that sounded like a bit much.  So, that evening we made pizza again.  The boys like to watch the cheese bubble and get excited about dinner.  The funny thing is the really don’t eat much.  We even make simple cheese slices for them (sometime with a tomato slice too), but they really aren’t big eaters at dinnertime.

Last weekend we made a dessert pizza that turned out really well.  We sliced a granny smith apple really thin and tossed it with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.  Yum.  Oliver ate 2 slices.   So, I guess if dinner was more like dessert, they might eat more.  We are already trying to think of our next dessert pizza.  Any ideas?

The other picture is Oliver eating an appetizer.  He insisted!  He had to eat some zucchini.  He was practically standing in the refrigerator begging.  I tried to cut a piece off for him, but he wanted to eat it like corn.  Whatever.  Like I am going to discourage him from eating vegetables.  The zucchini is actually from our neighbor.  They planted a little garden this year.  I would love to have a little garden, but at the time of the garden planting next door, all outdoor watering was banned in Atlanta because of the drought.  I guess our neighbors didn’t know that and now they have fresh vegetables and I don’t.  That’s what I get for always following the rules.

Since it was movie night, and the tv is back in the attic, we brought my computer out to the living room.   I chose Toy Story from iTunes, which I saw maybe 10+ years ago.  I read the review and rating.  So, I thought there might be a few stressful moments, but no parents dying or disappearing, like so many other Disney movies. 

We settled on to the couch with our dinner and started the show.   It was going pretty well, but about halfway in, Oliver got totally stressed out twice.  His little head was shaking and he wouldn’t speak about it.  Freaky.  Once was when Woody looked like he might be run over by a car and the other was when the neighbor kid was taking toys apart and such.  Both time we asked if he want to stop or skip ahead and told him Woody wouldn’t get hurt.  He did let us skip some of the neighbor boy scenes.  He seemed to feel better when things were resolved, but I continued to feel horrible.  Benton seemed oblivious, so who knows what I’ve done to him. 

Seriously, we are not watching anymore Disney cartoons for a long while.   I’m so glad he liked Mary Poppins.  I think we’ll be watching that one on our next movie night.  At bedtime that night, he told me he was going to dream about all the people who love him.  I think he was still feeling a little stressed.  My poor sweet boy.