Thursday, January 26, 2012

Purple Scissors and the Beginning of Homeschooling

One of Miss Moo's favorite new activities is to cut coupons with her purple scissors.  Every Sunday we sit down with the paper and cut out any coupons that we MIGHT use. I emphasize might here because we generally eat local and organic when we can. Our standard Sunday paper doesn't tend to cater to our needs. We do, however, cut out the coupons that Whole Foods puts out every month and keep them in the kitchen for our shopping trips.

This morning Moo, Roo, and I were enjoying a lively breakfast with songs, books, and banana phones. Moo turned around and saw our pile of coupons on the counter top. She asked for her purple scissors to cut them. I explained to her that we had cut these already and were going to use them for our shopping trip to Whole Foods. The announcement that we were planning an outing to WF was very exciting because not only do they have cheese samples there but they also have little carts!! Moo loves to push her little cart around and help me gather things but we haven't quite mastered the art of how to do that successfully. Until today.

I sat down next to her and spread out the coupons, choosing those we would be using and making note of them on my grocery list. She then asked to make a list, too. While she was busy making her list, I began working on an idea.

I grabbed a pen and a sheet of paper from my weekly planning sheet. (That pad needs to be used for something if I'm not going to be planning with it, right??) I turned it over and drew a small picture. I then showed it to Moo.

"What's this?" I asked her.

"Bandanda!" she replied.

"Right!" I drew another picture and pointed. "And this?"

"Stawberrdies!" she beamed.


I continued to draw pictures of the non coupon items we needed with their name beside their picture. I then was sure to make my list just what I had coupons for so I wouldn't get confused. Shortly we were off.

Once we arrived and grabbed her little cart, we started in the produce section. I showed Moo the list. She went to the strawberries and grabbed a pint. She began to push her cart. I asked where we were going and she replied "Bandandas!" which  were on the list just above the berries. After gathering a bunch for her to place in her cart she asked to see the list.

"What's this? With the cow on the front?" I asked.

"Yoyurt! Dis way! To the refriderater, Mommy!" She marched off and went to the dairy case and gathered the correct brand and type of yogurt.

This game continued for her list and then by looking at the picture on my coupons. We were able to get all of our items with Moo leading the way. We checked out, put away her cart, and loaded back into the van. Moo was all smiles.

On the ride home I asked what we had purchased. She listed her entire list in the order we had gathered the items, not the order it was written,.

If I was on the fence about homeschooling before, I'm not now. In one trip to the store we followed directions, "read" her list, mapped around the store,  used gross motor to push the cart and fine motor gather to our goods. We counted. We identified colors. We identified foods we passed.

We had fun.

Now I must learn to draw a little better to make her lists in the future and do this for not only our grocery trips but our other errands, too. I bought a single week dry erase board that is also magnetic. We are going to begin taking pictures of the places we go the most so that we can put those pictures up on the board and plan our weeks. We will also need to get more coupons because she's already asked for her purple scissors.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Small Blessings (and the amazing power of prayer)

2012 has already shown itself to be full of challenges. Everyone at our house has been effected by the mounting stress over the past few weeks. Couple that with a trip out of town without Daddy for 5 days and the end result is two little girls whose behavior is nothing close to normal.

When I went to bed last night all I could pray for was help. I didn't ask for guidance or to keep my girls safe. I didn't go through my usual "list" of people who need prayers and support. I didn't even give God any real examples of WHAT I needed help with. I just sighed and asked for help.  I uttered it more as a cry than as a prayer. I willed it in my soul to be one prayer that was answered. I pleaded to be heard clearly even though my cries were weak and muffled. Somewhere in that haze of prayer I fell asleep.

This morning, Miss Roo was the first one awake. I snuggled her in next to me for our morning ritual and listened. I didn't hear Moo. I glanced at the clock. Then I stared. 8:38!! Twenty minutes later,  Roo was climbing all over the bed and I was yet to see a little burst of golden hair run through our bedroom door. I got up and began to dress. Maybe, I thought, we can go to the park! I checked my phone and saw that the temperature outside was quite nice and I smiled. Moo soon came through the door and was very enthusiastic about the idea of going to the "Happy Birthday Partk". We loaded in the van, grabbed a "hot", and went to the park.

We built sand castles, drew letters in the sandy soil, discovered moss, played on teeter totters, and climbed all over the climbing structure. We went for a walk around the park's short trail. We decided to go to the pet store to look at animals. We made a short trip to Trader Joe's and picked out lunch. We came home and Moo played in her sunfilled playroom while I heated up her food. Roo snoozed. Elizbet, one of Moo's favorite friends, came to eat and play in the backyard. We had a lovely lunch on our deck. At 1:05 we all came inside and headed to naps. Moo slept. Roo ate. I cleaned up the kitchen some and dug through our overrun pantry. I found 8 open and almost used up bags of various rice. Roo slept. Moo woke up.

Moo and I read some books and made a story. We emailed her story to NanaPop. We grabbed her a snack. I poured all the random rice into an extra storage bin and we played in the rice with one of her kitchen bowls.(Was this a mess? You betcha! But it was worth every grain I had to vaccum up!!) Roo woke up and we played some more. Daddy and I tag teamed cooking a lovely dinner. Afterwards, Moo painted in the tub and I read her Betsy-Tacy while Roo got some Daddy time.  Moo and Daddy did their bedtime routine and after Roo's bath, we did ours. Both of my girls went to sleep without an epic battle. We had a day free of tantrums, yelling, hitting, and full of smiles, giggles, hugs, and kisses.

 I needed today.

 Days like today help me understand that I'm doing okay at this Mom thing.  Days like today help me see that the only approval I need is God's. Sunday's sermon has echoed in my head all day. Matthew 3:17 was clearly the answer to my prayers.

God is good.


 Lootk Mommy! I'm building a sand castle!

Hours. Of. Entertainment. Cost - $2.00

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daddy Magic

The girls and I returned from NanaPop's yesterday afternoon. They were in a good moods thanks to lovely naps during the drive and the appearance of their Main Man (aka Daddy) at the door as we pulled into our driveway. Miss Moo has always been a bit of a Daddy's girl and her excitement at seeing him was abundant and familiar. Miss Roo was also happy to see Daddy and seemed slightly more responsive than usual to his cuddles and kisses upon our return.

Roo has always been a clingy baby. This behavior has been a learning experience for us all because Moo was much more of a hands off kinda gal. She cuddled when I nursed her or when she was taking a bottle from Daddy, but otherwise she was more than content to be in her exersaucer or Johhny Jump Up, or laying on the floor with her toys and her play mats. Roo shrieks as if being tortured each time she is placed in the Jump Up. She no longer cooperates to slide into the exersaucer. None of the swings made it past 5 months of use.  She likes our bed and (occasionally) the co-sleeper. Otherwise a lap or arms will do just fine. During our trip she became very sensitive to separation from me and cried almost every time she was placed anywhere but in someones arms.

Last night she fell asleep in the car seat on our trip home from dinner. She stayed asleep there for 3 hours. When she did wake, we nursed, we sang, we diapered, and still she was unhappy.

And then Daddy laid down next to her.

Yes, DADDY!! That wonderful guy who lives here and sings "ABC's" to her all the time. That furry faced guy who tickles her feet with his chin. That funny guy who makes blow fish faces and sends videos to make her giggle. YES YES! That guy!! Can you guess what happened when he laid down next to her???

Sleep! A whole NIGHT of glorious sleep!! Her attitude and appetite are 300% better since sleeping with her Daddy. What a glorious turn of events!!

I have felt less than 100% today. Since Mommies get no sick days, I eagerly awaited a short nap at nap time. Moo obliged and went right to sleep. Roo and I nursed. We played. We patted backs and bellies. Nothing worked. I missed my nap window and my upcoming appointment time crept closer and closer. Daddy came in to hang out with Roo while I changed and prepared to run out. I walked into the bedroom to say goodbye and I found Roo contently sleeping soundly next to Daddy.

Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Painful Lesson

I'd like to think that I'm a good mother. I have a decent amount of patience and I generally use positive reinforcement, gentle parenting, and redirection. I try not to spank. Moo knows that I will try all other forms of discipline and redirection before I tell her I will spank. Spanking has always been an "attention getter" of sorts. Until today.

Today I spanked out of anger, frustration, and stress. It hurt us both physically and emotionally. She is finishing her sleepy naps right now and I am spending 5 minutes of quiet reflection on the couch as Roo rolls about in the floor with one of her books. This lesson is one that will stay with me far longer than it will with her. I know that Moo will wake up and not have the same recollection of our pre-nap dispute as I do. I will still be Mommy and I will still be her pal. But I have learned that spanking is out of the equation for me. I'd rather remove it as an option than run the risk of letting it be painful again. I debated about writing this post because I know it could bring judgement from others - but I needed to write it to feel as if I am solidifying my resolve on this issue.
 I don't strive for perfection because I know I'll fall short. I just owe it to my daughters to be a Mommy who deserves to have them. How could I be true to them if I don't accept and admit my faults?

I can't help but remember the statement:

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
Charles (Chuck) Swindoll

I know I can't undo our day. But I can change the lasting impression, teach her we always say we're sorry, and we always keep our promises.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The girls and I have made a short trip to NanaPop's house. The weather has turned colder over our few days here and Miss Moo is a little stir crazy. Art and celebration of Dr. King distracted her for a little while, but it became clear that we needed some fresh air and vitamin D.

Our trips to NanaPop's are much more frequent in the warmer months, so outside playing provisions for cooler weather aren't as abundant.  Pop and I took her outside with a bucket for a little bit this morning, just to see what would happen. Here is the result.

After walking out into the yard with her buck, Moo paused to collect some "treasures." Our yard at home isn't as large and our trees are mostly barren for the season. Finding pine cones and acorns was quite exciting!

Pop and I took the opportunity to show her the lush green moss thriving in the brown grass.

She was fascinated by how rough the "bartk" felt compared to the soft moss.

The ice in the bird bath was quite surprising to Moo.

The cut wood may have been her favorite stop during our adventure. We showed her the rings on the inside of the tree, the difference in appearance from the bark to the pulp, and how heavy just one piece of trunk was to move. She grabbed a stick from the ground and hit the wood. She giggled and then started to drum.

"Mommy! I'm making sound!!"

15 minutes well spent!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is it really 2012?!?

I have been told since Miss Moo was born that time would fly by, but I haven't felt it until recently. I feel as if it was her 2nd birthday yesterday only to realize its a new year. I have made many, many resolutions in the past but this year I am viewing it more as a promise to myself and my family. I will play more, smile more, and love life. Blessings are abundant and we need to embrace them.

Happy New Year!!