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. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Karate Kids

So, I know this is "Wordless Wednesday" but I should explain a bit. 
As I've mentioned before Lynden started karate last month (he LOVES it).  Alyssa is right into it as well; when Lynden practices at home she's right there with him, punching, kicking, bowing, etc.  During classes she pushes a chair right up to the counter so she can watch Everything Lynden does. 
A few classes ago Alyssa was the centre of attention at one of her brother's classes when she was participating in the viewing area. 
Last night, during Lynden's class, the kids were practicing palm thrusts and kneeing and one student yelled "kias" loudly and the sensei commented on what a great "kia" that was.  So, all the kids started hollering "kia" while beating up poor Bob (the dummy). 
Alyssa, not to be left out, also called out"kia", a few times, loudly.  The sensei was impressed with her that he awarded her with her own belt. 
To say she was thrilled was an understatement. 
her belt
This is an old picture
you can tell by Lynden's hair
my karate kids

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Kindergarten Decision

Danny and I went back and forth about registering Lynden for French Immersion or sticking to English. 

There's a lot more perks to being in French Immersion but we were worried about us not speaking any french, about hearing about how a lot of French Immersion students have a hard time with basic English skills (granted, I think most of us aren't grammatically correct 90% of the time), and how Lynden would adjust to it. 

Another issue we had was with our move we change catchment areas for our French Immersion school, which is beyond ridiculous since the one that's not in our area is 1.5 blocks from our house and the school we could get into is 14 blocks from our house.  The school in our area does not have the best reputation.  While talking to many different people I heard nothing good about our catchment school - it's over populated, in a not-so-great-area, and has a lot of problem children. 

The Friday before French Immersion registration started I asked Danny, for the umpteenth time, what direction he was leaning.

We didn't leave it until the last minute at all.

After more discussion we decided to put our name on the French Immersion waiting list for our desired school (the one next to our new place) at our catchment school (you have to register there).  We were expecting a waiting list at our catchment school since I was not willing to camp out the night before. 

Registration day I headed to the school 2 hours after registration started.  When I arrived there was no line up, not even another parent registering their child, so I was quite shocked when I was told there were still spots left and we were guaranteed a spot (at our undesired school). 

After speaking to the administrator I enrolled him (listing the other school as our #1 pick; we're on the waiting list but I'm not holding my breath for this year). 

So, Lynden is enrolled in French Immersion.  We will do Kindergarten at our catchment school and come next spring we can put in a transfer request for Grade 1, at which point there are more classes and we will most likely get in. 

It will be so much nicer being able to walk to and from his school every day than having to a) take public transit every day, twice a day or b) having to buy a second car in a rush (we want to find the right vehicle for us this time). 

That's how we decided on French Immersion; basically left it up to the universe.  If he was suppose to get in he would.  If we didn't we would have happily enrolled him in English (at the other school within 2 blocks from out new place). 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Isn't That Pinteresting - Moving Edition

Now that we're moving I've been looking to Pinterest for ideas on furniture ideas.  We have an extra room that we can use as a media room and a small dining area we can put out table, but that leaves a large hole in the kitchen. 

Of course you get quite sidetracked while looking for things on Pinterest, but here are some ideas I like for our new place

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mason jar toothbrush holder
easy to clean
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crate coffee table
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storage from bookcases
We have a space for this,
but I think it'd be better in a kitchen

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Picture Wall
Love this!

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Pallet Sofa
Love, but it would take up too much room

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Laundry Room
The shelf and rods are great
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Night Stand
Put a power bar in the drawer
Declutters the top
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Ruler Growth Chart
I WANT this
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Shelves for cars
Love the idea but it could cause fights with the kids
I might just do one for Lynden's Cars cars
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Toy Storage
So clean and crisp looking
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Hanging Shelves
Would be perfect for a little girl
who is all about her babies
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Closet Ideas
The kids have smaller rooms
so we have to plan better for storage

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Outdoor Race Track
PERFECT for Lynden

 My ALL time favourite and I am making Danny makes this for me, just a bit shorter to go in our kitchen.  This way the kids can play playdoh, paint, crafts, etc.  And when we do our holiday dinners we have extra seating for the kids or to put food on. 

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Play Table
LOVE everything about this
So many ideas and I'm super anxious to move in to see how much room we actually have to do some of these things. 

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Different Thoughts All In One Post

I've been a bad blogger and I'm going to continue to be for the next bit.  We're moving at the end of next month so we're getting ready to start packing (I need my lists don't you know).  However, there have been things I've wanted to blog about, just not enough time (or energy).  I'm going to give you the cole's notes version instead

**We've enrolled Lynden in karate.  Danny got on this band wagon a few weeks ago and after watching a class and meeting with the sensei twice Lynden officially starts on Thursday.  He's pretty excited and it's nice to see him excited about starting something new. 

**Speaking of starting something new, Danny and I have been back-and-forth and then back-and-forth again on Kindergarten.  English or French Immersion?  We cannot decide.  Every time I think I've decided on one I get swayed the other way again.  It's not like I'm waiting until the last minute or anything (French Immersion enrollment is Monday at 7:30).  What did you decide?  Why?  I need all the help I can get.

**Alyssa's vocabulary continues to astound me.  Every day she's picking up more and more.  My current favourite is she calls Lynden "nee-nee" and Alyssa "aha", and when you tell Lynden to say sorry she says "sorry nee nee".  Even Lynden's started to tell her she's not the one who needs to say sorry, but it's still adorable. 

**Alyssa is getting closer and closer to starting potty training.  The only things stopping me from doing it now is her fear of sitting on the potty and the move next month.  We've decided to start in April. 

**We went and saw Cirque Du Solei's Amaluna last week.  We had Fantastic seats and the show was incredible.  It's amazing how talented the performers are.  The swimmer was unbelievable, the tight rope walkers are crazy (I can barely walk on solid ground with heels on, forget on a tight rope), the leaping men we're spectacular, and that was the most intense stick braiding.  Ever.  Seriously.  If you get a chance to go, go!

**Lynden's been practicing his letters lately.  That kid astounds me; we hadn't worked on them since before Christmas and he's just about mastered them.  We just need to work on his patience (we had a small meltdown over them not being perfect.  I never thought I'd see a kid so upset about having to take a break from writing)

** My orchid bloomed.  I was quite relieved to see a flower and not some egg sack hatch. 
Seriously though, does anyone know what I should be doing with it?

**Danny and I went to school with a guy, Kurtis, who has 2 kids, around our kids ages.  He's an incredibly talented artist and he's recently started a Tumblr page about the funny things his kids say.  If you want a good chuckle, check outs Kids, Eh?.  It's so nice to see it's not just my kids (my favourite has to be punching the poop out - Lynden tells us it's eating, which is why it takes so long).

Other than that, I've got nothing.  It's been pretty laid back, which is nice because at some point I am going to have to start going through things, purging, packing, and cleaning.  So, please forgive me while I post sporadically over the next 5-6 weeks. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Topics: 8 Shows

As I was reading through some blogs I found this great link up for Tuesday Topics.  This week's is 8 shows and, being a TV addict, I had to share my 8 favourite shows that I'm currently watching.
1. Sons of Anarchy

If you have not seen it yet, what are you waiting for?  It's Brilliant!!  Danny asked me if I wanted to try an episode about a year ago and I agreed, not knowing anything about it.  I was hooked before the opening credits. 
It's well written, well acted, and intense.  All around brilliant.  You need to watch SOA. 
2. Fringe
We've been on a big Fringe kick lately, mainly because it's ending this coming Friday (I am not ready for it to end).  I started watching half way through Season 1 and it's right up my alley - if you were a Lostie you'll like Fringe. 
3. Big Bang Theory
It's probably one of my favourite comedies right now.  Although, am I the only one predicting a drinking problem in Penny's future?  There's hardly a scene without her drinking in it. 
4. Criminal Minds
I've watched it from the beginning, which says a lot because after all the drama a few years ago with some of the actors it really did take a toll on the show.  I adore the characters and find the whole idea of the BAU so intriguing.  I am really looking forward to the big bad guy they're leading up to, especially since the last 2 repeat bad guys were incredible story lines (Doyle and The Reaper).
5. Grey's Anatomy
Yes, I watch Grey's.  It's another show I've watched from early on, but I do feel like it's dropped a lot in the last few years.  But every time we get close to a season end and I think that'll be it for me the season finale gets me, every time.  They really know how to do some great finales. 
6. Once Upon A Time
Another J.J Abrams show (to be honest I give most of his stuff a try since I liked Alias and Loved Lost) with quite a few Lost actors.  It's intriguing and like most of his shows you really have no idea who's good or bad, where the story is going to go, or how you got to where you are. 
7. Storage Wars (original and Texas)
Am I the only one who thinks what they do is pretty cool?  Where else can you "score a lick" as good as what Darryl did a few weeks ago (over $300,000 in one locker)?  It took me awhile to get into the Texas episodes, but this season I like the competition between Jenny and Mary.  Besides, it's fun saying "Yuuuuup"
8. Supernatural
Let's face it, the only reason I watch this show is because of Jensen Ackles.  Hell-o!  I keep hoping I'm going to run into him on the way to Lynden's preschool since a) there's been a lof of filming in the main court and b) the show is filmed in Vancouver.