Monday, August 18, 2014

Home Preschool: Letter Cc

It was a big week in the land of home preschool this week: first, Camden was thrilled that we were "finally" learning the letter C (because C is for Camden and nothing else!). And I was really happy that we hit a home preschool milestone this week: we are officially halfway through the alphabet!
 
Now, time for business on Day One:
 
Working on some handwriting.

 
Here they are (with two very fake smiles), ready for story time. Photo bomb courtesy of Maggie. And Macey's Klip Klop stable.
 
I decided reading about good ol' Clifford would be an excellent choice for the letter C.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my laminator? Yeah, I thought so. Well, I was reminded of my affection for it when I was able to drag out the parking lot that we used several weeks back for a new activity.
 
This activity was a big hit with the boys, mostly because of all of the different kinds of cars I printed out (and yes, laminated). There were police cars, race cars, trucks- you name it. They had the most fun choosing which car to park each time.
 
So, I started by asking them to choose a car to park in the [oval, hexagon, triangle, etc.] spot. We went through all of the shapes. Next, I took their parking lots and wrote numbers on the shapes. I used a lot of variety in numbers-- there was 100, there was 55, there was 16, etc. I then asked the boys to pick a car to park in the [fill in the number] spot.
 


 

 

 
Up next: craft time. We made a clown (that, if I'm being honest, turned out looking much more like a strange wizard than a clown...)


Tracing their own hands for the clowns' hands. They both did an excellent job while using their dominant hand to trace and neither could make anything even coming close to resembling a hand while using their non-dominant hand to trace.


Ta-da! Our wizard/clown hybrid.

 
 
Day Two:
 
 Workin' on those C's...


Next up: I had the boys hunt for both big C's and little c's mixed in with plenty of other big and little letters.


We then talked about coins. (Side note: this activity originally involved dimes too, until I realized I didn't have any in the house. So, we stuck to quarters, pennies, and nickels.)



I gave each boy a quarter, penny, and nickel and asked them to complete various patterns on the cards I made.



I then gave them a blank template (with just circles on it) to make their own patterns. It was fun to see what they each came up with.



Finally, we made some pretty stinkin' cute caterpillars. The boys loved these little guys, and especially loved that they could pull them around on a "leash".




Taking their new caterpillars for a walk around the house.
 
I told you they love them! They decided to give their caterpillars a kiss.
 
Can you blame them? Look how cute!

 
We continued with Clifford's adventures on Day Two.

 
Woohoo! Half of the alphabet down; half to go!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sleep Update and Such

Phew-- whoever said that making the transition from crib to toddler bed basically required sleep training from scratch was absolutely right. It's been a pretty sleepless past few days around here, especially for my adorable toddler and sweet husband.

You guessed it- Matt's handling the sleep training again. It's no secret that I'm a gigantic failure of a sleep trainer, so I let the pro handle it. On night one of Project Toddler Bed, Macey woke up about 752 times, though only briefly. Matt slept on a mattress on the floor next to her crib. On night two, Macey decided to mix things up a bit and stayed awake from 3am-6am. Matt pretty much gave up on that night (even the pros have their limits) and instead took some hilarious video footage of Macey telling all kinds of stories around 5am ("Mommy in bath, bro night night" was her favorite line. Not sure why exactly she thought I was showering at the crack of dawn). She also took great pleasure in her newfound freedom and walked all around her room in the middle of the night. On each of the mornings following these disruptive nights, Macey woke before 7am to get out of bed and play in her room. One morning, I peeked into the room to find Matt sound asleep on the mattress and Macey piling toys on his head.

We had a breakthrough last night. It took a lot of convincing to get her to go to sleep initially, but she slept straight through the night until 8am. And you know what else? She stayed in her bed and talked quietly to herself when she woke up. (I watched on the monitor as she leaned over and checked the mattress on the floor, saying "Dada?" quietly. When she saw he wasn't there and there was no one to pile toys on, I guess she figured she'd stay in bed a while longer.)

I know we'll probably have some more rough nights, but last night gave me (and Matt, I'm sure!) some much needed hope (and rest).

(Disclaimer: My last post which referenced Macey's first night in her toddler bed was written several days before it was posted. Just didn't want to confuse anyone.)



In other news, we headed to my parents' lake house for the day yesterday. The kids had a great time. We took the boat to a restaurant and ate lunch on the water. Macey's still a bit unsure on the boat, but she's enthusiastic about everything else related to Nan and Pop's house. Camden had a blast, as usual. The "boat house" is one of his favorite places ; he's asked to live there on more than one occasion.

The restaurant that we visited had a little pier out front where you could feed the catfish (and ducks). This was a big, big hit.

I personally find the catfish a little creepy, but neither kid seemed bothered by their enormous mouths.
 
Just because he's cute. And growing up so darn fast!
 
Okay, I had to post this video. My parents have two dogs, Toby and Lexy. When we were at their house yesterday, Macey was saying their names. At first, I wasn't sure I heard her correctly when she said hi to Lexy. But when I asked her to repeat herself, I knew I hadn't misunderstood. I had to take a little video footage of her name for Lexy this morning, just because it's so hilariously adorable.
 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Baseball, black eyes, and toddler beds

 
I'm not even really sure how to begin describing the past week. It wasn't bad, really-- we definitely had some fun times-- but it was certainly eventful. Yes, I think we'll go with eventful.
 
First thing's first: Macey got her first (and hopefully only) black eye. She was playing quietly in her room while I put laundry away in Camden's room. Then, I heard a loud crash followed by some really distraught crying. Now, Macey is my tough girl; she rarely cries. She's known to brush off a bloody, skinned knee with a "May-May otay!" So I knew if she was crying that hard, it was going to be bad. And it was.
 
I walked in her room to find her sprawled on top of her dollhouse, which she had apparently tripped over. I'm guessing a piece of doll furniture hit her right in the corner of her eye when she fell, because the puffiness and bruising was immediately apparent. By the next morning, she had a genuine black eye. Thankfully, it has now faded to a light yellow/green shade, which makes it look like she's rocking some eye shadow left over from the 80's.
 
Okay, moving on. I mentioned that we are starting Camden in Little League this fall, so Matt has been practicing with him a couple of times a week. On this night, it was Camden's first time using a "real" bat and his first time wearing a helmet. Macey and I met the boys up at the field and as soon as I saw Camden all decked out, I had to bust out the camera. I couldn't even stand the cuteness, and I know it'll be even more adorable to see him in uniform. 

 
He got a hit!
 
They also worked on some grounders at the neighborhood tennis court.


My girl didn't want to be left out of the baseball fun and insisted on wearing "bro's hat"!
 
 We also had a play date with one of Camden's friends from preschool. I had to snap this picture because I was in awe that four young children were sharing one toy cooperatively.

We've been making a lot of homemade popsicles this summer-- they've been a big hit with the kids. This picture just makes me laugh-- her expression is so goofy. (Please excuse our bathing suits and towels drying off in the background.)


We spend a lot of summer days at the pool, but on this afternoon, I wanted to do something different. I got out the old slip-n-slide and made the kids some water balloons too. The water balloons were a big hit and lasted a lot longer than I thought they would! Of course, Macey's was the first to pop.


In other news, this happened. Yep- Macey's in a toddler bed. No, I'm not happy about it. In fact, tonight is her first full night in her toddler bed and she's already woken up several times. I've heard that you often have to re-sleep train when you transition to a toddler bed, and it looks like that's going to be the case here.
 
So, why's she in a toddler bed? Well, it's because she flipped out of her crib head first. The first night it happened, we thought it was a fluke. She was angry and worked up because, as I've mentioned previously, she's been fighting bedtime. So she was holding on to the rails and using her crib like a trampoline, and over the top she went. (Luckily, there was a mattress on the floor next to her crib-- because, you know, the sleep issues she's been having have led to Matt or I on the floor at night more than one time.) Anyway, we wrote that flip off as an accident, as she seemed genuinely scared when she landed outside of her crib.
 
Turns out, it wasn't a fluke. Or, maybe it was initially, but once she learned that she had the power to get out of her crib? Well, there was no keeping her in.
 
So, to avoid any serious injuries, we went ahead and made the conversion. She loves the new bed, loves her Minnie blankets, and loves that she can get in and out of her bed without any acrobatic tricks. However, it appears that (so far, at least) she doesn't love actually sleeping in her new bed.

 
And just because it makes me laugh and kind of sums up our week nicely: here's Macey trying to Facetime with her Nan, who injured her back and had to stay home and rest up for a week.
 
 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Home Preschool: The letter K

 
Day One:
 
This week, we moved on to the Letter K. I think we all know by now what's up first- handwriting practice. These days, I'm using a mix of homemade handwriting templates and some printables I've found online. A site that I'm using fairly often right now is: www.first-school.ws
 
 




I'll admit that our next activity really didn't have anything to do with the Letter K. I really wanted to give the boys some practice with shape, number, and color identification-- combined. I also wanted to get them up and moving. So, I made several shapes of various colors, and on the shapes, I printed a random number. Then, I had the boys walk (which, of course, turned into running- hence, the blurriness of the pictures) around the circle to different kids' songs (think Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). When the music stopped, the boys had to freeze on whatever shape they were closes to and identify the shape, the shape's color, and the number on the shape.








Our craft of the day was a king made of the letter K with a nice, bedazzled crown. Pretty cute, I thought.






 
 
The finished product! Camden's is up top; Will's is down below.

We read all about Mittens the Kitten this week. The boys really enjoyed this little kitten's misadventures.
 
 
Day Two:
 
 

 
Instead of traditional handwriting practice, we decided to mix things up today by breaking out the Do-A-Dot markers.




 
Next up, we kept the Do-A-Dot markers out and I gave the boys these homemade little printables. I asked them to count how many K objects were on each card, and then use their Do-A-Dot markers to stamp the appropriate number on the bottom of the card.
 









Since they were enjoying using the Do-A-Dot markers so much, I let them keep them out for one more activity: a K hunt. They had to look through a homemade card with dozens of letters on it to identify the "sneaky" K's that were hiding among the bunch. 




Our craft was a kite. I told the boys that they were going to "sew" their kites together by stringing the ribbon through holes I had punched into both kites. A great fine motor exercise in theory, right? In reality, this turned out to be much more a "mom craft", meaning a great deal of assistance was needed. Guess they're not quite ready to sew.


 
Still a cute craft though!

And we finished up by reading about a couple more of Mittens the Kitten's adventures.