Friday, January 27, 2012

Some more sadness...

This week we put the alphabet projects on hold because there was a death in the family. My Uncle Terry had a heart attack while driving last Thursday. The wake and the funeral were this week. Spencer stayed home with Dave while Ash and I made the trek back to my family. I wish Ashton were a bit older so he could have stayed home, too. He cried most of the time, and it brought back memories of Colicky Spencer. The poor guy was very overwhelmed with the situation. Although we met again under sad times, it was good to see my family. We will definitely miss Terry at all our family functions (butt crack and all) as he was normally the life of the party.

On a happier note, Spencer pooped in the potty while I was gone!! He tried putting the potty seat on the toilet and pulled his pants down, then proceeded to sit on it for a half an hour reading a hunting magazine. Dave said he checked on him periodically but was shooed away. Spencer was red-faced, grunting and still swore he wasn't pooping. The evidence was in the toilet, though. Hopefully this leads to more because two kids in diapers is tiring (and expensive!). 

It's nice to see Spencer adjusting to his new brother in his life. For a while there, it was a little patchy. But things are definitely a lot better. In fact, last Sunday Spenc and I went on a date to get cookies. Afterwards I asked him if he'd like to do it again, and he wondered if Daddy and Ashton could come with, too. 
Ashton is now three months old. If I were still employed, my maternity leave would be over. It's hard to believe I went back to work at this stage with Spencer. He's still so little and needs me so much. I've very grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with my boys!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vowels are hard

This week was all about the letter I, but I've come to realize that vowels are hard letters to generate ideas for. Therefore, we really didn't do a whole lot with the letter I. We started Monday by squirting some paint into ice cube trays, stirring water in, and then setting them in the freezer for later. Tuesday we painted with the ice. Spencer didn't enjoy this as much as I thought he would. He grew bored pretty fast. I thought it was pretty neat how it looked like crayons on the paper, though. We quickly moved onto our next activity, which was to put the colored ice cubes in his water table. It was filled with rice from the last time we used it and I was too lazy to empty the rice out, so in went the ice with the rice. Hey, we got some sticky colored rice out of it anyway.
Colored ice cubes and rice.
We also gathered a bunch of blankets and piled them onto the living room floor to create an island. I scattered some blocks out in the "water" and we had to fish for them with a belt. Spencer enjoyed this for a while, but he really didn't quite understand the concept of staying out of the water and on the island. He was more interested in the belt, to be honest.

Ii flashcard.
While he was "fishing" I cut out the upper and lower case Is from the painted ice picture. Then Spencer helped glue them onto a 5x7 card to make our Ii flashcard. I finally put together all the flashcards with binder clips to make an alphabet book. Somehow along the way we lost the letter F, though. Sadly, I didn't even notice until my husband was looking through the flashcards with Spencer later that night and he pointed it out. So currently our alphabet is without the letter F. Oops! Hopefully it turns up eventually so my son doesn't think the alphabet goes, ABCDEGH... ;)

Besides our few letter I projects this week, we also had some fun with snow. I decided that since it was too cold to go out and play in the snow, we'd bring the snow inside. Spencer helped me scoop some snow into a bowl and then poured it into the water table. (Best purchase ever!) This time I did empty out the rice. We played with the snow for a while before I thought of adding color. Spencer loved this idea and squeezed some food coloring onto the snow. Once the snow melted, I added more from the supply on our deck.
Adding color to the snow.

This has been a fun, relaxing, even productive week, and now I'm looking forward to the upcoming weekend. After swim lessons on Saturday, we are meeting some friends at the Children's Museum. The last time we visited the museum they had a Clifford the Big Red Dog exhibit. This time is The Wizard of Oz. Plus, their standard fare of dinosaurs and trains, both of which Spencer adores. Then for lunch we are heading to Buffalo Wild Wings - YUM!!

You know how people always say you won't take as many pictures of your second child as you did your first? Well, I must be the exception! Here are some random pictures from our week:

Nap time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Heart Spring Weather in Winter!

Ashton's first time swinging.
I loved the nice weather we had over the past few weeks. It can almost trick a person into believing spring is around the corner. Too bad we have a full winter left to survive. We weren't about to let the unusually warm weather go to waste. We played at the park behind our house one afternoon and in our backyard the next day. Spencer experienced his first backyard time-out when he threw a toddler-sized tantrum because Ashton was swinging in "his" swing. Oh boy!

Look at the size difference between Ash and Spenc in the swings!
Playing in the backyard.

Spenc begrudgingly swung on the "big boy swing."

Looking upset although he's finally in what he considers "his" swing.
With the distraction of the nice weather, we still managed time to do some letter H projects this week. We started by creating our Hh flashcard. I found heart stickers in the dollar aisle at Target since Valentine's Day is just around the corner. They worked perfect for the project. Of course when the Hs were fully decorated with hearts, Spenc wasn't done with the stickers just yet, so I cut a heart out of construction paper and let him go crazy with stickers and crayons. After seeing the finished products, I realize it looks like we celebrated Valentine's Day early. Oh well.

We talked about how 'horse' is another word that starts with H, and then played with his stick horse and gave each other horsie back rides. And, yes, I did mean to say gave each other rides. He gives me rides, too, and thinks it's the funniest thing in the world. Oh how little things amuse toddlers.
The biggest hit of the week was the cardboard house. Someone gave Spencer a huge cardboard house as a present quite a while ago. It's meant to be colored or painted or decorated any which way you please. I've had it stowed away in the basement for what seems like forever.  I thought this was a perfect time to pull it out, assemble it and let Spenc have at it. He painted a few sides one day, then got bored and just wanted to play in it. Then another day he colored it with crayons for about 10 seconds, got bored and just played in it some more. It's currently still sitting in the middle of my kitchen, much to my husband's dismay, I'm sure. To his credit, he hasn't made any comments about it yet, though. You should have heard the comments he made after seeing the rice scattered all over the floor when I filled up his water table with rice! I'm part of the camp that thinks if it's going to entertain the kid, who cares! But my husband prefers order and a little semblance of cleanliness. I blame the Army.
Hh photocard.
Spencer's mittens.
Ashton's mittens.
I have to give credit to the Winona ECFE for our next project. Last Friday at class they had a project station where you put hand prints on a pair of construction paper mittens. Spencer did a pair and I decided it was a neat idea to do each winter, so I attempted to do Ashton's at home. It was not an easy task!! His little hands are still clenched tightly into fists, so just brushing the paint onto his hands is challenging. Then try putting the painted hands onto a piece of paper? HA!! I managed to get one semi-decent print, though.

Hey, when did my swing get toys?!
Besides enjoying the nice weather and doing some projects, we also went to Toddler Tuesday at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona. The museum hosts Toddler Tuesday once a month where kids can do projects, play and interact with their peers. We try to go every month; we especially will now that winter has finally arrived and we can't get outside to burn energy. This month Spencer's favorite part was the real live turtles in the aquarium! I could barely pull him away to do anything else.

Hmmm, I wonder how I can grab those rings.....
I've been enjoying how much more playful Ashton has been lately. He has longer periods of being awake these days. He smiles and talks and plays. It's fun watching him dedicate minutes to batting at his favorite toy, only to get his hand caught in the ring or have a death grip so tight that he can't figure out how to let go.

Spencer started swim lessons this weekend. He absolutely loves the water, so he had a really good time. He was joined by his good buddy, Jackson. Of course I brought my camera to capture the moment (even though Spencer's new favorite thing to say is, "No pictures, Mommy!!"). I decided not to lug the diaper bag into the YMCA. Instead I tucked a diaper and some wipes into my big camera bag. Big mistake! I should know better. I already had explosive poop experiences in public this week. Two, to be exact. This marked Public Explosive Poop #3 for this week. The other two times were at school. I had my diaper bag then. (Although having the diaper bag doesn't always help out. It didn't save ME when Ashton pooped all over my shirt.) So at the pool I stripped Ash down, wiped all the poop off his back, and redressed him sans onesie. So what if he was only wearing a short-sleeved vest because I didn't have any extra clothes with me! Did I learn my lesson? Eh, probably not.

Dunked underwater.
The highlight of my week was Friday when we dropped the kids off at Grandma and Marmer's and met up with a bunch of friends for dinner. It was refreshing having a conversation with someone other than a two year old for once! I have another adult-only outing planned for Sunday. I'm meeting my friend for a lunch date. I need these kid-free occasions every once and a while for my own sanity! Then later I will enjoy a peaceful afternoon with just my baby when Dave takes Spenc over to Grandma and Marmers to watch the Packers in the play-offs.

This last picture was taken Friday. Look at the difference from the beginning of the week compared to the end? Welcome to Minnesota!
Snow is cold!