Thursday, April 18, 2013

Looking Through The Eyes Of A 4-Year Old

One of the great things about our new place is having a yard the kids can play in anytime.  It's been so nice to have them play outside for hours and come in dirty and smiling.

However, we need some outside toys.  The Easter Bunny was nice enough to bring some outdoor toys but it hasn't been enough to keep Lynden occupied - Alyssa's quite content to dig in the dirt, run up and down the small hill, throw a ball, chase the ball (sometimes I'm shocked as to how much toddlers and puppies have in common), or just blow bubbles.  Lynden, on the other hand, needs more instructions on what to do. 

The other day it was nice out and the forecast was calling for rain the next day so I kicked the kids out to go and play.  Every 5 minutes Lynden was asking if he could come in.  After saying "no! Go play outside!" repeatedly I came up with an idea.

I took the memory card out of my camera and told Lynden to go take some pictures (without a memory card it only stores 17 pictures).  Here are some of his photos he took

Hi Alyssa

spring has sprung

reminds me of a picture
you can see it here


part of our rock garden

the clouds are coming

it's kind of artsy

on the go

I'm adding this picture because I still don't know what this is:

I liked that he was excited to go outside (and take pictures).  I told him he could take pictures of anything he wanted and it was interesting to see what he thought was worth taking a picture.  Granted I also have a few pictures of shirts, hands, foreheads, blurs, etc, but it was nice to see him have fun. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Potty Training: Round 2

I had written an entire post late last week about Alyssa's potty training.  I complained about how she just was not getting it; she would pee on the potty but would sit there for 10 minutes first or she would sit there and have nothing happen only to pee somewhere else and not care that she was wet.  We didn't know how she was doing with pooping because we would recognize the poop face and run her to the potty.  I bitched about reading the same books over and over and over again. I was tired of being stuck inside (and it was a beautiful week) and even though I had taken the week off of work to do it I was missing Lynden's karate classes.  I was bummed that everyone said "girls are easier than boys" and my girl wasn't. 

Then Saturday night rolled around.

Alyssa woke during the night crying, which is not all that uncommon since she wants to sleep in our bed.  Danny went in and she said "pee", so he took her to the bathroom and she went and her pull up was dry.  My 27 month old girl woke during the night to tell us she had to pee!  This was Huge!

She followed it up with her first accident free day on Sunday. 

She woke from her nap the next day crying and said "poo".  It was the first time she had told us she had to poo.

Since then she's figured it out.

Yesterday we had a partial accident; of course the messy kind.  She said she had to poo but as I was pulling down her pants and lifting her onto the potty she was going.   The bathroom got a pretty good cleaning after that. 

However, she was bummed about not getting her treat (she was getting 1 Smartie after peeing and 1 Easter treat after pooping).  I explained that she did tell mommy she had to go but we missed the potty so no treat.  About 5 minutes later she said "poo" so we went back and she went again.  She got her treat. 

Today she told me she had to go before going.  I think we've hit success (it took 7 days).  I know there are going to be accidents but she's got it. 

As she's gotten better we've started cutting back on the pee rewards.  If she asks for a Smartie I give her one, if she forgets (most of the time) I "forget" too.  If accidents start to become a regular occurrence we will use a sticker chart with escalating rewards since we know she can do it. 

And it's been nice to have her in panties, she loves them, instead of having her bare bum all the time.  It just makes life easier. 

I am so proud of Alyssa. 

And I can honestly say that I agree, girls are easier to potty train than boys. 

I'll leave you with a few pictures we had done the day before Alyssa started potty training

Monday, April 8, 2013

English Is Hard!

Part of Lynden's karate homework is learning Dolsch Words (which are the 220 most frequently found words in children's books, excluding nouns, that commonly cannot be sounded out).  There are 220 words on his list and for every 20 he learns he gets a stripe on his belt.  Lynden has learned 40+ words, which, to us, is incredible at 4 1/2 years old. 

Because of these words we have him ready some stage 1 books and he's able to sound out so many more words because of it.  We're quite impressed. 

However, in teaching him English I've come to realize how hard it is.  Sure, I speak fluent English and can write and understand it but I'm almost 30 and it's all second nature to me now (granted, I know I am not grammatically correct at all times). 

First, vowels... what the heck?!?!?!?  We've taught him a-e-i-o-u-sometimes y are vowels, which really just means they're a bunch of sneaky bastards.  They can sounds like a whole bunch of different letters, assuming that make any sounds at all.  Silent e... do we really need you?

C and K, two evil letters that can sounds exactly alike with no rules we can teach our preschooler.  Sure, there's a hard C and a soft C, but can you tell me why "catch" starts with a C but "ketchup" starts with a K? 

H - another silly letter.  It's all relative to what the letter preceding it. 

And then you get into past tense.  Sure, most verbs end with "d" or "ed" but then you get the "exceptions".  Tell and told; many times when Lynden was younger we would hear Lynden said "mommy, I already telled you".  Do and did; again, I can still hear Lynden saying "I doed (read: dude) it already". 

Thankfully we haven't had to deal with many "exceptions"

Come on?  Can anyone really explain why these exceptions are they way they are?  I'm willing to bet the majority of us can't remember the "rules" to most of vocabulary. 

With the Internet and texting as involved in our lives as they are the grammar and spelling skills of most people have gone down the toilet.  A lot of people can't tell you the difference between "there", "their" and "they're" or when to use "then" vs "than" and most people have no idea how to properly use punctuation, if they use it at all. 

I wish our future generations much luck; it's hard enough for my generation and we were taught English and all the rules (I even took an English course in college so it's slightly fresher in my head... even though it was almost 10 years ago) without the distraction of short hand texts. 

However, with all things considered, we are happy with Lynden's learning.  He's super eager to learn this words, which helps greatly.  When he's playing he takes his words and sits in his room and practices.  He has this toy that sounds out letters and he sounds them out on there if he can't remember or sound out the word.  He's also taken to teaching Alyssa his words (she knows a few).

Not many parents can boast having a child not in kindergarten yet who can read simple stories.  If it wasn't for his karate I don't know that we would have thought to teach him words before school started. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Easter

I know, I know... I'm still not back.  I'm getting there.  To tie you over in the mean time here are some Easter pictures

Hope everyone had a good Easter

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I'm Back... Sort Of....

Ok, I totally lied.  I said I'd be back at the end of last week... not so much.  Even as I write this post all I can think of are the gazillion of things I still need and want to get done. 

It has been a crazy few weeks (I know I've been AWOL for almost 2 months) but we have moved and settled into our new place quite well.  We're still tweaking here and there but the bulk of things are done. 

Even though we're close to the same square footage we had in our previous place it's in a totally different layout and somehow we needed more furniture.  We've added a sectional sofa, a 52" TV (it's in Danny's "man cave"), another kitchen table, and 4 stools (which, to be fair, we could have used in the last place). 

We're currently figuring out the little details of getting a deep freeze and dining hutch (little detail being how do we pick them up?). 

It's been fun trying to find new homes for everything; although I'm a little annoyed with the kitchen as a whole.  All the shelves (in cupboards, the fridge, and pantry) are all just too short to fit in standard things (milk cartons, cereal boxes, bottle of oil).  It also has 2 awkward cupboards, you know the ones where there's a standard cupboard door on it but it's about twice as long with no way to get to the items in the back?  I've managed to set it up fairly well (I've only rearranged everything twice so far) but once we get a hutch then it'll all change again. 

I've also had a chance to go through things and purge a lot.  Now I get to organize the rest, which will be SO much easier with my huge walk in closet.  I've already invested in boxes for the kids rooms to get their closets under control and I've decided to do a lower hanging bar in their closets so they can access it and have the normal bar and shelf for storage.  With both their bedrooms being smaller we have to use the space wisely. 

Thank goodness for Pinterest (and Ikea) for ideas.  It's helped already and once we start focusing our attention to the yard it'll help even more. 

Speaking of the yard, it's one of the highlights of our new place.  At the last house we had a Massive yard but because we were on the top floor the kids had to go down a steep stairs and I couldn't see it from inside the house.  Now we not only have a yard that is level but it can be seen from the house, and between the kitchen and yard is an enclosed sun deck. 

It's been hectic but it has been completely worth it.  We've been here less than 2 weeks and I've noticed a change in everyone.  I'm a lot less stressed (the light helps a lot), Danny's loving his "man cave", and the kids are adjusting well.  They love being able to go into the yard or when it's raining head out to the sun deck (we've put a lot of their bigger toys out there).  So helpful during our rainy season (9 months of the year... I joke... it's only 8) because it'll be like they're outside but staying dry, which should help with them getting antsy from being inside so much. 

So, while I have a few posts prewritten, I may still be sporadic while I'm in the final stages of setting up house.  I'm hoping the bigger things are done by next weekend when we have our "come check out our new digs" party.