Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hitting Milestones and Baking Bread


Check this out! Beads has been giving himself drinks completely on his own for a few weeks now and it's super exciting. He can walk around the house while downing his water, juice, and Pediasure like a boss whenever he wants, no matter what Daddy and I are up to. We love that he finally has this independence!

He's also been working on learning numbers. Sometimes he will identify a few but it's been harder for him than learning shapes/colors/letters. He wasn't thrilled that I wanted him to sit at a table; hence the melancholy look he gave me at first. We used these awesome bean bag numbers and I asked him to find the 1 (or 2, 3, 4, you get the idea) and put it in the bucket. He did try his best and worked with me for a good 20 minutes while Daddy and Sister practiced following directions in the living room (playing Once Upon A Monster with the Kinect). 
After Beads had enough of the numbers, he and I snuggled into bed and read together for a good long while....until I fell asleep. 


The rest of our last couple of weeks included Ballerina's Fairy Princess Day-Camp that she absolutely loved, the kiddos helping me make banana bread, playing outside in the rain with a wheelbarrow full of sand, gardening and dinner with friends, and a dentist appointment.

Reunited with ballet friends from last season's class!


Friends helping us with our first little garden

Dentist in Training...

Ballerina has wanted to be a dentist since she first starting talking and could tell us these things. So when appointment time rolls around every 6 months, she's ecstatic! Never cries, whines, or has a hard time with x-rays or cleanings. She even asks to go to the dentist just about every week and when I tell her it's not time yet, she gets upset. I wish I had her enthusiasm when I go and get my teeth worked on! Beads, on the other hand, hates anyone messing with his mouth, even Daddy, me, and his therapists. Granted, he did have cleft-palate repair surgery at nearly a year old so I know some of those memories are still in there. Mix that with the other experiences of not-so-fun doctor visits (ever had your ears deep-cleaned? Well, Beads will tell you - it's not pleasant), and possibly not understanding why we're even touching his teeth/mouth and he's bound to have some anxiety. 

He is growing up so much, though! For years now, they haven't been able to x-ray him because he would freak out about that plastic thing in his mouth while they took pictures. This time he sat on my lap and worked his way through the 4 photos, fussing just a bit between each one. He lost it after the last one was taken but that was just fine because he made it all the way through and we were DONE! Hopping out of the chair and getting a good hug made things much better. Such a big kid! He and Ballerina both got good reports and the dentist even sent Ballerina home with a mask and pair of gloves to practice with. As soon as we got home, that's exactly what she did. All of her dolls got check-ups with the scrubber, water, and air tools (3 straws), the explorer (bobby pin), and a Diego toothbrush. And Brother makes the best supervisor!

Oh! We hit up Goodwill this week, too. Thrift shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do. I love going to find books! If you're paying for it, you can't beat 50 cents or below for a book. Plus they always have at least a couple great teaching/student workbooks and so many fun vintage-y children's storybooks. I scored this one on pocket chart poems this time, along with a couple Science, Math, and a few Language workbooks, all for PreK-2nd grade. Beads doesn't do worksheets much but Ballerina likes when I work on them with her so I snatch them up when I find good ones. And of course I love the teaching guides, like this phonics poem  book.

I've had 2 big wall pocket charts for 6 months or so now that we've used on and off but here lately I've wanted to include them on a daily basis. These poems are perfect for that, and are super fun. It's always good for Beads to hear letter sounds even if he can't say them yet and Ballerina still has some issues with pronunciation. (Don't we all?) I get all stupid-Southern and drop endings to words I normally wouldn't when I'm nervously talking to people I don't know well. So we're all loving these. 

Something else we're loving?
Foil pack dinners! These are so incredibly easy and taste really yummy. Here's one version I made the other day:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken strips per foil pack
Chopped red potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots
Diced red bell pepper
A few rings of onion
2-3 slices of butter on top
Salt, pepper, Nature's Seasoning as desired

Wrap each one up and put them on cookie sheets to bake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken's temp reads 180. 
Top with Colby/Jack shredded cheese.
Eat up!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ballerina!

Ballerina turned four last week! 

Today, riding in the car, she told Daddy and me that when she was three she learned how to bet and now that she's four, she'll learn how to wager. What in the world. Apparently Candy Land with Daddy is totally different than with Mama.

Anyway, aside from learning the ins and outs of gambling, our little Ballerina had a fantastic "Under The Sea" party with so many of our favorite people last Saturday. She and Beads had plenty of friends to play with, a million doughnuts, lots of family to hug on, and got a ton of love. It looked something like this:

Hah! These guys crack me up.

Oh, and thanks to a friend, I remembered to do one of those fun birthday interviews with our tiny dancer. Here's how it went.
  1. What's your name? (Says first, middle, and last name.) That's my real name.
  2. How old are you? Um, four.
  3. What color is your hair? Brownish.
  4. What color are your eyes? Blueish.
  5. Who is your best friend? Kenna.
  6. What's your favorite place? Living room!
  7. Favorite book? Let me go look in my room and see which book I like and show ya..........

  8. Why do you like being a kid? Because I like to cut and make purses.
  9. What animal would you like to be? Zebra.
  10. Why? Because I'd click-clack!
  11. What is your favorite thing to do? Laugh!
  12. What's your favorite thing about Bubba? He dances around with me.
  13. What's your favorite color?
  14. What will you be when you grow up? Dentist.
  15. What will Bubba be when he grows up? A dentist just like I will and he will NOT fuss!
  16. What are two things we should do as a family on the weekends? Go to beach and a sleepover in the living room. (We plan to check off the sleepover this weekend.)
  17. What is something nice you've done for someone? I helped decorate the tree on Chrimas. (She always pronounces Christmas like she's in a rap song.)
  18. Favorite food? Grilled cheeses.
  19. Favorite thing to do with Daddy? Play game boards.
  20. What about with Mommy? Play game boards.
  21. What do you plan to do while you're four? Play games on my phone. (Uh...)
  22. What is your favorite show? Olivia.
  23. What is your favorite toy? Ballerina Ariel.
  24. What's your most favorite song? Gold on Ceiling!! (Die hard Black Keys fan, we've got.)
  25. Do you have an important message you'd like to tell everyone? I need this ballerina doll for my dance class because they don't have one of these to play with. I bet Turner has one of these!
  26. What does Daddy do all day at work? Spend money.(HAHA!)
  27. What does Mommy do all day? She gets candy all day. Hahaha....Well, sometimes!
  28. What do you and Bubba do? Play outside.
  29. What about Pickles? Play catch and fetch....I wanna go outside....Hey Mama, can I have one cookie? (Story of our life, right here.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Days of Play

We had a play date last week!
I have to admit, before our big day I was a little worried about how Beads would act at a new house. An environment change like that usually winds him up - sometimes to the point of no return. He will war-cry through the place as happy as can be but unable or unwilling to  listen/follow directions/calm down even a smidgen. This spurs lots of chasing on Mommy and Daddy's part and a whole lot of "No, Beads. Get out of there! Come back over here. Watch where you're going before you get....hurt". He's not trying to be difficult really, he just gets so excited and overstimulated that usually the only way he can dial it down is to head back home to his routine. But....

This was not one of those days!

Thanks to The Best Playroom Known to Man and its kid-friendly layout plus the help of our awesome mom friend, we had a blast. I was very proud of them both! Ballerina and her friends R and N had the cutest little tea party in their dress-up gowns. They consumed enough water tea to hydrate a horse and even when Ballerina was hard at work building a train track, R would pour refills and kindly dole out sips to her. It was the funniest thing!

Another highlight of our week was dinner with The B Family. We LOVE hanging out with these guys!
The kiddos weaved together a potholder and ran around outside all evening while Daddy Jam and I got to visit with some of our favorite grown-ups. And we found out that they are expecting a baby! So, so, so excited for them!

The rest of the week was spent taking Beads to his therapies, Ballerina to her dance class, and cleaning up our (usually disastrous) house in preparation for Ballerina's fourth (WHAT?!) birthday party. I cannot believe she is four. I miss my chubby, big-headed, always-hamming-it-up baby! The one who was born as red and angry as can be. Seriously. Don't let her fool you here...she was (is) a firecracker!

(More about our birthday fun next post.)

The rest of our week is pretty much summed up like this...