Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5-25-11 Liking this Day

I loved today. It was crammed full, but of all good things. I've been reading up on the Montessori Method -- not the first time I've done this -- and I've been trying to implement a few things. The first thing I did was create a sensory box. I filled the box with pinto beans and Pirate treasure: coins, rings, jewels, and necklaces. It was a little bit surprising how much time they spent scooping and hiding and finding the treasure. I do have to buy a couple of hand brooms. . . the beans went on the floor and Maria Montessori would have expected this and considered it part of the experience, but she didn't have Caden crawling around on the floor! The sensory box was also a vocabulary builder; Conrad and Max both used unexpected words. They just enjoyed the newness of the activity.

Next? A trip to Jewel for whole wheat flour so we could bake some bread. My sister- in-law introduced me to a recipe for a light, airy, soft bread that I begged to have the recipe for. It is delicious and you don't even have to knead it!!

After a lovely visit from a friend, Max and Caden snoozed while Conrad and I were cooking maniacs. We got dinner rolling (crockpot turkey sloppy joe's, salad and potato wedges). Conrad chopped the green peppers; he's fun to have as a helper. He makes fun conversation and tries his best at everything. He's a pretty capable little guy. I took pics of every step of our baking so that we can use them for sequence cards. Then, it was on to baking cookies. . . the favorite cookie in our home is Nestle chocolate chip cookies. Max woke up to join us for this leg of our cooking antics and he jumped right in. Max loves to laugh and he adds humor to whatever we're doing. It's practically painful for the boys to keep their paws out of the batter!

After dinner, Caden and Max did some finger stamping and coloring with markers. Caden created his first masterpiece. He also showed how serious he was about nobody taking away his markers. Caden's a boisterous little fellow and does not stand for his brothers to take his things away from him. Sweet boy, but no push over.

Max has perfect timing on when he says, "Mom, you da best." He gets me every time. What a great day with my boys. Now they're fast asleep energizing for tomorrow. I really should be doing the same.

It's hard to sleep when you get really good news late at night. My niece entered the world today and tomorrow I will hold her and meet her for the first time. Happy Birthday Baby Girl. What a wonderful day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

5-20-11 Family Days

What's the past tense of sleepwalk? I did that the other night. Talk about a creepy feeling. I woke up frustrated because I was coming to the realization that the box in in my hands was not what I wanted. I can't remember what I wanted; thought that I needed, but I was standing next to my bed holding the box of Q-tips.

We've had a stretch of beautiful weather. It's been so nice that the boys have been putting their clothes straight into the washing machine when they come in from playing --they're just too dirty to leave on for nap time. They were leaving them out to put back on when they would go back outside. . . it just never worked out that way. Hello summer, hello Oxi-Clean bucket, and hello lots of baths!

Caden will stand independently, but is still hesitant to walk. When we go outside, I've been letting him crawl around and explore. He is covered in dirt in mere moments. He doesn't mind the texture of grass or dirt. He explores on his hands and knees. He has a certain confidence as he moves on his own and then comes back to me and crawls up for a hug. No matter what his environment, Caden's a sweetie!!

This is going to be a fun summer because Conrad and Max are able to do so much and Caden enjoys watching. Today the boys helped me clear weeds out of a flower bed and looked for bugs. Max ended up with a lady bug and a beetle. Many roly-poly bugs got away from us. He created a habitat for them in a plastic container. I used a hole-puncher to put holes in each of the boys' lids. I can't believe I never thought of this before. . .

Conrad let out a little scream when he claimed the worm was about to bite him. Apparently he did not retain everything from our in-depth study on worms from last year. I reiterated that worms do not have teeth and we talked about how worms don't have a defense if there is a predator. We determined that is one reason that they burrow into the ground. Conrad created a worm habitat and I believe about six worms occupy it right now.

I really like hanging out with my boys. My other responsibilities in life are not nearly as fun; they are what feels like work. Adventures with Conrad, Max, and Caden are what energize me. I wish we could play all day and dinner would fix itself as the floors cleaned themselves!

Dinner. . . Every week I make a menu and grocery shop. The problem is when naps run late or other things keep me grocery shopping when I'm supposed to. That happened this week -- twice.

On Thursday, I amazed myself when I had everything I needed to make a family favorite -- Creamy Penne and Mushrooms. Yes, three kids under five and this meal makes it into our "Family Favs" section. Conrad doesn't eat the mushrooms. I added a side of steamed edamame and the boys inhaled it. Seriously, you don't even know how much pasta Baby Caden can pack away. This was a quick dinner. The surprising part was that I had regular and cremini mushrooms on hand!

I've started buying organic produce from a co-op. The best part is that my friend picks it up and delivers it to my house. She is awesome! One of these days I'm going to spring for Peapod. Our last three trips to the grocery store have ended horribly. Max should be banned from there. He hates it and works like Houdini to get out of the card. It's a great time. A nice woman commented that the boys were "happy now" as I was pushing the cart out the door and indulging them in cookies. The nice woman also mentioned that she had one three-year-old girl and implied that she had had the same experience. Once we were in the car, I indulged in cookies myself. Emotional eating? I made one key move before leaving the store, I asked the bagger to go and get a rosemary garlic rotisserie chicken for me and immediately took the pressure off of myself to get home and get dinner going. The kind bagger returned within minutes and we were on our way.

Once home, dinner was on the table in no time: rosemary garlic chicken (delicious - huge hit!!), creamy penne and mushrooms on the side, and leftover edamame. Another home run on the dinner front.

I am going to have to go back to the grocery store for a handful of things since we had to make an emergency exit.

We ended the night back outside. Joe set the sand table up and made a fire in the chimenea. The boys even roasted hotdogs tonight. Last night it was gigantic marshmallows. Conrad climbed up on my lap for a while and later Max took a turn. Joe entertained us with a Joseph Michael story and at 9:30 we all forced ourselves inside. Sometimes you just need a little family time around the campfire.

Monday, May 9, 2011

5-9-11 When I Grow Up

Conrad told me that he wants to be a policeman when he grows up and it appears that Max would too. But I think they make awfully cute firefighters!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

5-8-11 While the Cat's Away the Mice will Play

Joe had to be out of town overnight so it's been a fun couple of days of me just hanging out with my boys! On Mother's Day weekend, it seemed fitting for us to support the local Pregnancy Aid Center. I was celebrating motherhood, babies, and all of the women who have had a hard road to tread upon becoming mommies. The Pregnancy Aid Center put on quite an event. All four of us had a great time!

A dream was realized for the boys when the had the opportunity to sit in a real squad car. After all, they've been playing "Police" every day for a month straight! Conrad loved that he saw the cop's handcuffs. I loved that neither of the boys mentioned that they had handcuffs. Just doesn't seem like something a public servant would pat me on the back for.

We ended our day with a trip to Lowe's to pick out some flowers and one vegetable: cucumbers. The boys are going to have a cucumber garden. They worked hard on cleaning out a garden area and then were eager to plant their cucumbers. Max was so eager that he yanked the plants out of their containers with no caress. I don't think the roots will survive; we'll see.