Saturday, March 8, 2014

February, Solomon and Catching Up

K. So it's happened.  For whatever reason, we hit second semester at work and I forget I have a blog.  Christmas is busy and last Christmas was absolutely nuts with a musical production AND a concert and all the other performances I had going on, yet I still managed to get my posts done.  I don't know.  Maybe I still have SOME energy around that time of year.  Or it could be that I've actually, seriously, added my Essential Oils business to my plate in a way I really hadn't before so it's harder to get on here to write.  Whatever the reason, it's the second month since the new year that I've found myself writing a "post of the month" rather than a weekly or even bi-weekly update.  I think I've come to realize, with life as nuts as it is during this season I need a better planner system.  I nearly need every hour of my life scheduled in order to get all this done.  And I think that might be a goal for March.  Find a good planner and PLAN. Be flexible but plan it all out.  I do some of it but I really need to get serious. . .

But I digress.

Flu and February begin with "F"
February. 2014. It started with the flu.  I came home from work with it first. Then Claire. Then Ashlyn.  Christian never succumbed to it and we aren't totally sure why. Two trips to doctor (mainly for diagnosis purposes), on for me and one for Claire, lots of oils, elderberry and bit of allopathic medicine working together we all got better.  But it was a little nuts being quarantined with the girls. First, by myself, then Claire joined me and then, finally, Ashlyn.  We watched a lot of tv on the pathetic little tv in our bedroom, read a LOT of books, played on the Leappad and tried not to go stir crazy.  Daddy got a lot of time alone.  But he was a great sport taking care of us and didn't complain once.  I kept waiting for his fever to hit, but it never did.  Thank. God.

Lots of Peppermint oil rubs and tepid baths for this little sweetie!

Dragged the girls' little table in for soup and crackers

The day the both felt better we went outside.  They couldn't wait to be in the sunshine!! 
Valentine's Date
Christian and I have this funny little tradition for Valentine's Day.  The weekend before or the weekend closest to actual Valentine's Day (depending on what is going on) we go down to Laguna Beach and have breakfast at Bas Brisas. This year it was the weekend before.  It's something we look forward to every year and it's really interesting to consider where we are at and what is going on with our lives every year at this event.  I remember years ago I was several months pregnant with Claire, had just moved into our house two months earlier and we were there and I remember talking to a man there who asked how long we'd been married (a year and a half at that point!). I told him and he commented about the impending birth of the baby and I mentioned the house and he smiled WIDE for us this smile that said, "wow, look at this, they've got so much beginning right now."  I think about that every time we go on our date.  And look back at that moment. At that question and think about everything that has happened in the last 4 years and then think about what might be in front of us.  . .
But it's a time that I love and cherish and am thankful for grandparents who are willing to play with the girls so we can do this every year.  

Solomon and Schooltime
Not sure what happened with February and schooltime but we didn't get as much done this month.  I keep telling myself that this is just for fun and that Claire is learning everytime we go anywhere and do anything or have any sort of conversation about nearly anything at all. She knows so much and I shouldn't be guilty about this but at the same time I DO recognize my need for scheduling (ie my first paragraph in this post) so that things get done.
Claire, often, wants to "do school" in her tutus and butterfly wings.  I love that she can.  She dances around the living room and asks for "ballet music" so I obliged.

But our first story was about Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom.  Wisdom is important and, as much as you can explain wisdom vs smart to a 3 year old, I explained the difference.  This is something we'll be talking about over and over, I think. With all our kids, for a long time.
The first activity that went with the story of Solomon's wisdom (the story of the two women who fought over the baby) was sorting shoes.  We out a bunch of shoes in a pile and Claire sorted them by size (Daddy's OBVIOUSLY the biggest) and put them together with their matches, just as Solomon had the wisdom to put the baby with his true mother.  In church, Claire and Logan did a coloring page about Solomon choosing wisdom over military wins, fortune etc.  I couldn't be there so Logan's mommy taught the lesson.  Claire definitely got that wisdom is something to ask God for.

The letter of the week was "J" so she got some practice writing "Js"
But we also had a breakthrough in math for Claire.  For a while, now, a page in her preK book was just too hard for her.  She would get frustrated and when she got frustrated, I knew it was time to table it for a while.  But this time, she wanted to try again.  The concept was "numbers less than" or "bigger than" so she would be given a number and then would circle the picture with more objects than the number given.  This time, she got it.  Only one time I had to take out some beans to show her that one number was bigger than another.  It was SO FUN to be able to facilitate this learning and to watch the change right before my eyes.

Just Keep Swimming
Both girls are still taking swim lessons at Aquatic Zone.  Claire is still in the Water Wigglers class and Ashlyn is in the Water Babies class. Ashlyn is taken to swimming like a duck.  She. loves. it.  Her teacher is the same teacher Claire had for Water Babies and we love him.  He's kind to the girls and pushes them at the same time, too.  Ashlyn is really very good and, I think, as soon as we can take her swimming more during the week, we can work on things that will get her "pass ready." Niko is already teaching her to stay on the step so that she can be in the next class up!  She can float on her back by herself for a while and can swim a few feet and grab hold of the wall.  She's getting better at kicking etc. so we'll see!
Claire LOVES her teacher.  Since it's winter and we are crazy and keep up the swim lessons, Claire has had private lessons for a couple of months.  You can tell her teacher seems to have fun with her, too.  She's learning to swim across the little pool, using big arms and kicks and swim on her back and kick.  I've seen her dive for the ring a few times, too.  I'm in the pool with Ashlyn while Claire is in class, though, so I don't always see everything.  But the girls wave at each other from the other side of the pool from time to time and it's super cute to watch them smile at one another and listen to Claire as she tries to give Ashlyn pointers.

Valentines Day
Valentines Day cookies are the BEST.  GG made the girls these GIANT cookies.  My mom gave the girls bags with clothes and treats and Christian's parents bought each girl a cute bear for Valentine's Day.  Sweet! Sweet!
Another part of school this week was "opposites" and, luckily, I found this little puzzle game with opposites at Target in the dollar bin.  Along with that game we also found a rhyming puzzle game, too.  Claire loves both games and I've found that the rhyming game has REALLY helped with that concept.  We are working on several pre-phonics ideas.  Letter sounds (which she knows) and rhyming words so she can start reading words.  She can do little short two letter words and some three letter words but if she can recognize short rhyming words, this would be much easier for her.  So we had a week of playing the puzzle games, looking at letter combinations and repeating words. . .as a game.  Love. it.

Chuck E. Cheese's
So I realized we went to this place this month for Christian's niece's birthday party (she was turning 6) BUT have no pictures of the birthday girl. this is odd since Claire spend the first part of our time there with her before lunch.  They might be on Christian's phone, but I digress.  I have spent many afternoons at Chuck E. Cheese's as a former daycamp counselor.  But had never taken the girls there.  We've gone to a few places similar like Little Prince and my mom has taken them to Johns Incredible Pizza but I hadn't seen the rock star mouse (rat?) in a few years.  :-)  The girls really had a good time, though (and thanks to my SIL and BIL for the invite :)) Ashlyn liked the rides- no shock there. And Claire spent most of her post-lunch afternoon on collecting tickets at every game she could find with Daddy or her Grandpa Herman (Baba).

Claire tried skeeball.  Cute but not a huge ticket winner for her. ;-)

Ashlyn was obsessed with this ride.  

She figured out how to climb in.

And put in the tokens so she could ride.  

Back to School
Claire absolute favortie activity, though, involved creating Solomon's Temple using spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.  She asked to do this again and again for the next several days.  It might have had more to do with the marshmallows, since, though this assignment she found out she LOVES marshmallows, but nevertheless it was a huge hit.  So Solomon built a magnificent temple for the Lord.  We build one out of marshmallows and spaghetti noodles.

Ashlyn tried, too.

After the temple was complete, we used musical instruments to praise God and marched around the house singing.  I'm sure the neighbors are totally about done with us right now. . . 
Claire tried new things: Brie Cheese

Ashlyn is obsess with strawberries
Every week we do "count on me" pages. Claire draws a picture of something in each box.  Chooses how many she will draw, and then we count.  Soon I'm going to mix things up and start teaching her to count by 2s and threes using this activity.

Had to finish this off with our trip to IKEA. We were in the market for another mattress for Claire's children's bed that we got at IKEA.  We considered getting a twin trundle bed for the girls since we plan on putting Ashlyn in Claire's room as soon as she's ready to be out of the crib, but the more we thought about it, the more we didn't want to spend the extra on the whole trundle bed. Claire probably won't outgrow her IKEA Children's bed for another year or two, really (smaller than a twin but larger than a toddler bed). So we decided to do what I'd seen on Pinterest for a twin bed, but fit it for her children's bed.  You can find the link here. So now, the extra mattress is under the bed waiting for the casters etc.  This will work for a while, we are thinking.  I'll post when it's all done.
Daddy and girls in the IKEA parking lot.

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