Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Caterpillar Dayz

I can't decide if I'm having more fun, or if they are. Part of it is just the novelty of new routines and something exciting scheduled to do everyday. I'm finding that it's easier to stay on track with this program so far and I love that. It's really fun to have every activity connect back to the theme somehow. They even have a big list of snacks in the book that correspond, with recipes and ways to get the kids involved in the process. Yesterday we made Monday's Apple Smoothies with applesauce and juice concentrate in the blender. Super yummy. It puts everyone in a happy, huggy kind of mood. :)

We've been doing some butterfly work too. Here is a gluing collage we made of some butterfly wings, and also using scarves as butterfly wings to do some flying of our own.

We also did Muffin Tin Monday for lunch, choosing all foods that the caterpillar ate in the book. They were practically incoherent with glee to get a tiny piece of cone and bite of ice cream as part of their lunch. :) No seconds on that part though, just the healthy stuff.

Are you sure I don't get more of that green stuff?

Mint chocolate chip is my favorite!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Focus- Esmeralda

Friday Focus: Esmeralda from daycaregirl on Vimeo.

Our Esme has moved on as of last week. Her family found a new house that is still sort of in the area but just far enough away that our place is not really convenient anymore. I thought I'd put a slideshow together to give her parents- since she started in January she missed out on the Christmas one I do, and I have lots of cute pictures of her. Then I couldn't get my DVD burner to work and didn't get to give them a copy. So at least it will be here so they can see it.

We will miss you, Esmeralda! We wish you luck and fun times at your new school! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

These Shoes Are Made For Walkin'

Roo's therapy has been going really well lately and she's making tons of progress! We're so excited to see her picking up her feet to take steps now. I took a video of her walking too but right now Blogger is being highly uncooperative and not letting me publish. Hopefully it will work later.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To School!

Yesterday I sent Duchess off to second grade. How did that happen? And Stitch is back, since her teacher mama is back at school too. That means it's time for a new semester around here! We still work on skills and do things over the summer, but it's much more relaxed and lazy and there's a lot of lying around and knocking over each other's block towers. We don't do official curriculum and schedule things by the clock.
We started our Very Hungry Caterpillar curriculum and so far we are all loving it. We'll be reading the book about 9 every morning for the next four weeks and then doing all our activities based around that. After just two days of reading it the girls are already saying "still HUNGRY!!" and looking in the kitchen area for apples and strawberries. I found a bulletin board set with all the pictures from the book and yesterday we all painted a section of huge caterpillar to put on the wall. I like the way our work area is looking so far.

Also new starting this week: Kanga and I went to the first half of a Love and Logic conference this past weekend. It's been really refreshing for both of us to have new strategies to deal with the little discipline issues that come up. The kids got it right away too. There's far less explaining with this program, which is a big change for me. I'm used to running commentary. "Okay, it's time to get off the sad wall. Do you remember why you were there? That's right, you were jumping on the couch, and that is not nice. We're not going to do that anymore, right?..." as their eyes glaze over....

With this, you sing the Uh Oh song. "UH OH! A little buckle chair time coming up for you now. How sad!" in this really sweet singsong-y voice. And that's it. You put them in the chair, on the wall, or whatever spot you have set up, and if they choose to be angry about that, it's fine. Once they're calm, they get two minutes of "recovery time" and you tell them, "you can get up and play with us as soon as you're ready to be sweet." When they get up, that's it. You don't talk about what the behavior was- the program says that kids have more sense than the family dog. :) They know good and well what they did.

We had some uh-oh time yesterday morning, and by the afternoon when we would sing UH OH, everybody would look around wide-eyed to see if who was the offending party. They're all smart. After about 30 seconds into her second time in the chair, Silvermist started saying, "I ready to be sweet!!" And she was.

The other part of the program is choices. Give as many as possible, as often as possible, and make sure you can live with whichever one they pick. Would you like Kix or Chex? In an orange bowl or a blue bowl? Big spoon or little spoon? Dry or with milk? Do you want to pour the milk or would you like me to do it? Ask questions and give them choices- let them figure out what is best without nagging or bossing all the time. Then when there's a safety issue or a big thing that you need, you can say, "hey, it's my turn to pick. I gave you so many choices today!" It's working well, but I think our husbands are having trouble with it- either that or they like to mock us. Or both. Kanga said her hubby passed Tigger off to her on Sunday and said, "Okay Tigger, are you going to puke on Mommy's shirt or Mommy's pants?" :) Ha.

Caterpillars, painting, choices, and UH OH. That pretty much makes up the next four weeks. I'm excited!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Focus- Tigger

Tigger was not even born when I started doing Friday Focus! I love getting to work new babies into our routines. And even more, I love that now he is finally letting me do that. He's almost five months old and it's only been the past couple weeks that I get smiles on a regular basis. Before that it was a variation of suspicious, scornful, or contemptuous. He's got amazingly expressive eyebrows and he can do crazy things with one or both of them. It makes the range of emotions a lot more extensive than you generally get with a baby this age. It's very funny.

His family calls him "the Sumo". He's beginning to grow into his cheeks a bit, but at first they took up his entire face. When you're born weighing eleven pounds, eleven ounces, there's nowhere to pack it on besides your face! It cracks me up that he's only gained about five pounds since he was born. He looks his age now, rather than everybody thinking he should be crawling when he was really only three days old.

We made a card for Father's Day using his footprints. He was not sure what to think about getting his feet painted blue but he was a good sport.

Then there are other things we've done to him that he's not been such a good sport about. He hated the watermelon with every fiber of his being.

He got to taste cereal for the first time here not too long ago. Kanga fed him while I played photographer. I love the look on his face in this one.

He's also working hard on learning to sit up. He hasn't quite mastered it yet. I think this is one of the times where the weight of the cheeks impedes him from further progress. Looks like they're making him top heavy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Focus- O'Malley

Made it through the rounds of kids and here we are back at O'Malley. He is not at all approving of the idea that I plan to write about him again. "MOM! I don't want you to wite about me!" So I say, "But I want to show everyone pictures of how handsome you are!"

I can't call him cute anymore. He thinks only babies are cute and he is certainly not one of those. But he will allow me to refer to him as my handsome big boy. "Okay, mom, you can do that now. But then I want to play Plants V. Zombies okay? A couple minutes, then it's my turn next."

Saying this is a kid of the electronic age is an understatement. He can do anything on my iPhone. He has sent Kanga's husband (who happens to share his name) numerous texts and emails because he can type his own name and then it pulls Mr. Kanga up. He'll tell me, "it's a free app! just download it!" He has a super heroes laptop that he got for his birthday and he's perfectly happy to sit and mess with it, doing addition problems and making words and earning fractals to save the princess or whatever that thing is supposed to do. He plays Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. Blue Toad is his character of choice.

He still has his imaginary doggies, and since I posted about that we've acquired a collection of invisible cats as well. The dogs go with us on most outings. The cats generally are either sleeping or on the sad wall. They can't seem to behave themselves. I like the way he usually projects his feelings about stuff onto the dogs. He is not scared of things, but the dogs are scared. The dogs don't want to try that dinner. The dogs think we should stay up and watch a movie.

As of yesterday he also has an eleven year old sister named Anna. I have no idea where that came from but he has talked about her a lot today. He keeps saying it's HIS sister and not Duchess's, which annoys her deeply because she wants another sister and the irrefutable logic of genetics insist that it SHOULD be her sister too. He disagrees.

When I was pregnant with him my mom said she felt like he was going to have a heart of compassion and she was completely right on the money. He is so sweet with babies. I love watching him with our smallest kiddos. He loves Tigger.

"Hey! That's me! I give Baby Tigger a kiss! Are you done now? Can I get on Webkinz?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A House for Hermit Crab

I have been doing daycare for eight years and I've never seen anybody do this. Sometimes they scoot forward and crawl away with the chair on their back, but nobody has ever been able to stand up and WALK AWAY. Tinkerbell has some mad skillz.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Curriculum!!

I've been using Mother Goose Time for the last several years and we've all really enjoyed it. I did some internet research this summer though, just to see what else is out there. I ended up ordering one month of something called Read It Once Again, which is a literature based curriculum similar to Five in a Row that I've used in the past. This one goes for a MONTH with over 100 activities for the same book. Considering that I have been reading Ten Apples Up on Top every day for about the past month, I was super excited to find curriculum that goes with a book for that LONG. At this age the kiddos are all about repetition.

Today in the mail I got the first unit: The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It is even better than I anticipated. It includes TONS of different kinds of things for the kids to do and will incorporate so many learning skills. It's going to be all caterpillar, all the time for the rest of August. I had been planning to continue ordering MGT for this school year, but depending on how well this month goes, I may be ordering new book study units instead.

I love new curriculum! This one does have more work for me to do ahead of time- I'm off to cut and laminate and get things ready. I can't wait!

Friday, August 6, 2010


We have done Tigger a grievous wrong this morning. At least that's what he told us in a number of ways- the screaming and flailing and trying to flee the scene, the spitting up at every opportunity, not to mention peeing all over Kanga as she laughed at his discomfort tried to see to his needs. I thought O'Malley was angry when we did this to him, and yes, he was. But the wrath of Tigger is fierce to behold as well.

You see, most days he loves his mother. He is content to fall asleep in her arms and all is well with his world.

This morning he got here, had breakfast, and was undressed...

only to be thrust into a warm and slimy place with sun in his eyes where life was unsettling and bad.

Clearly we are evil and must be punished. His mother's clothes are now in the washing machine due to their sogginess from various body fluids. He had a quick bath to get the juice off his backside and then finally I think we were forgiven.

He's currently sleeping peacefully in the living room. I expect him to be sacked out awhile; he's had a rough morning. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Silvermist!!

Well, it's happening. The Pink Ladies are turning 2. Between August 1 and December 1, all five of them will hit the big time. I am equally excited for new stuff ahead, and dreading the days when all five decide to have A Terrible Two Experience at the same time. It's going to be fun either way though- lots of things for them to learn. :)

We got to eat cupcakes today in celebration of Silvermist, who is the oldest of the pack. Everyone had a lovely time, most especially Kanga and me. We love to watch them eat frosting. They only get it on birthdays here and they have so much fun with it.

There's a second one somewhere around here for me, right?

Ha! I like chocolate and I like to be messy!!

Birthday girl with her mouth stuffed full of cupcake...

I don't think she likes it at all.

Hmph? What? Another picture of me? Why?

Because you're the big birthday girl, sweetie, and also because you freeze with that guilty, deer in the headlights look every time I point the camera at you and it makes me laugh. :)