Sunday, February 23, 2014

Alphabet: Q & R

Over the last few weeks we learned about the letters Q and R in our alphabet series. Recently, both boys have been showing more interest in the letters. Ashton knows that A is for Ashton and "S is for Cubby." His nickname for Spencer is Cubby, so theoretically he is right. Spencer's interest goes in spurts, and there are moments where I believe he's finally made a breakthrough and is an alphabet genius. But then there are the more regular instances where he feigns ignorance and it's like hitting a brick wall. We'll keep taking our baby steps.


Q

Quail Qs for bedroom door alphabets.





Quilts. I created a grid on paper and cut fabric squares for the boys to create their own quilt.





Quarter rubs. I printed off sheets of paper that had upper and lower case Qs and the boys colored over quarters that were under the paper. Then they got to put the quarters in their piggy banks, which was probably way more exciting to them than the actual project.





R

Rabbit Rs for bedroom door alphabets.






Chalkboard writing practice.




Rainbow puzzle.




Rainbow pictures.





<---Alphabet P---Alphabet S--->

Sunday, February 16, 2014

No love for you like mine.

"In all the world there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world there is no love for you like mine."
-Maya Angelou





I'm not the sappy romantic type girl who requires lots of love and attention on Valentine's Day. Without the commercialized world telling me about the holiday, it'd probably pass without me even noticing. Now, as a mother, it's really just an excuse for more crafts and celebrations.

As a kid I loved picking out cards from the store and selecting certain ones for specific classmates. My kids are now entering the age for that tradition, so I pulled up a few ideas on Pinterest and let Spencer pick his favorite valentine. One night he sat with me at the kitchen table while I cut out a million hearts. He cut scrap paper alongside me and made a big mess. Then each night for about a week we huddled over the small hearts as he signed his name, slowly working the pencil to create big, messy, nearly legible letters. With each letter completed, he'd announce the next one, almost as a question, waiting for me to confirm it is indeed the next letter in his name. Each night he'd produced three to four signatures oh-so-painstakingly slow until he could focus no longer and we'd give up until the next night. Finally, one night we completed the last of forty-two valentines, and we sat back and admired our hard work. Homemade valentines may come with more stress and mess than warranted, but there's still something so special about them that makes it worth it.



As for the crafts and celebrations part of the holiday, oh yes, we did that, too! We had a week-long pink, red, heart and glitter explosion at our house, which culminated in a fancy candle light dinner on Valentine's Day.


Glitter heart pictures.




Garland #1.





Garland #2.






Cookies.








Flowers. One night Dave took the boys on an errand run while I enjoyed the peaceful quiet of my house. Upon their return, they were supposed to tell me they had a surprise for me. Instead, Ashton yelled something about flowers and Dave immediately shushed him. I came upstairs and was presented with the brightest bouquet of flowers by this young man. Spencer picked them out on his own and was very excited to give them to me. Although Dave also got me a bouquet of roses, it was these unnaturally bright daisies that stole my heart. I believe I grinned the whole night.



Traditional holiday chair picture.



Gifts.




The fancy dinner.
Table details: cheap plastic table cloth. Place settings with name tags. A centerpiece of the flowers and giraffe I received. Candles. Heart confetti. And homemade heart leis.





Dinner details: pink, heart-shaped, chocolate chip pancakes topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries and a side of bacon.







Racing hearts game.




The grand finale: ice cream and a movie.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weekend Getaway

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl, young newlyweds, who liked to travel all over the great state of Minnesota for weekend getaways. This was long before their life was complicated with nap schedules and baby gear and obnoxious car riders. Before all of that, the young boy and girl picked random destinations, packed up without a plan or or any forethought of how they'd spend their time, and simply go. Sometimes these trips were duds, saved only by their ingenuity to create fun out of any circumstances; and other times the weekend getaways were chalked full of interesting outings. Then the day came when the young boy and girl couldn't easily escape on these spontaneous trips. You see, they were no longer newlyweds; they were parents. 

Meet Dave and Angie, the long ago newlyweds notorious for their random getaways, and their two sons, Spencer and Ashton.


Sometimes that easygoing, carefree lifestyle seems so long ago; and other times I feel like it was just yesterday. Dave and I like to incorporate that part of ourselves into our present life, but it's just trickier now. Where once we packed lightly with one small duffel bag, now we lug a big suitcase, a pack 'n play, a bag just for toys and books, snacks, the list goes on and on. Where once we didn't have to pay notice to the time of day, now we are prisoners of the clock, everything planned around naps and meal times. Even with these restrictions (and many more), we still make it a point to have small family trips.

This winter has been especially brutal with the Polar Vortex visiting so often, so we opted for a trip that allowed us to escape for a moment, perhaps pretend it's the middle of summer instead of smack dab in the middle of this long, cold winter. We checked into a hotel with an indoor waterpark and only emerged briefly to hit up Cabela's (somewhat begrudgingly on my part since I'd rather be just about anywhere than that boring store). The trip lived up to the boys' excited anticipation; and I'm fairly certain they would have been content simply staying in the hotel room and playing the day away.


Packing his toy bag.



Sack lunches for the long car ride.





Our hotel suite. 




I couldn't resist the natural window lighting.






The main event. 









After supper dessert back in our hotel room.



And, yes, you can add too many bubbles to a jacuzzi tub. Lesson learned.





The bedtime set-up. That faux-curtain separates the boys.



Chilling with Daddy until little brother passes out. Then he retires to the pull-out couch.



Our turn to relax. Except the once all-nighters barely made it to 10:00 p.m.



Pre-breakfast buffet cereal for those little tummies that just cannot wait.



Next up on our getaway list? Camping!! Well, once everything thaws and it's safe to be outside longer than thirty seconds anyway.