Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learning Time

Well, Isabel is always learning and that will never stop, but I found that when I had a consistent curriculum/schedule of sorts set up she was able to learn certain things really well, which is why she knows all her letters & their sounds & numbers through 20 and about 10 different shapes & colors. And now with her language skills increasing so fast it is a great time to again have a consistent theme (& not to mention the fact that we are settled once again and can do that).

I am going to try out this blog called Laugh, Love, Learn and use their monthly theme and I will have my own weekly sub-themes which I will tie into her ECFE classes and our playgroup fieldtrips, park dates, & playgroups.

And now that we have her playroom & art room set up and everything all unpacked we are ready to go. Plus, I feel better about being able to put together a weekly curriculum. I like to plan things.

When I get around to it I will post some other links I have found to use with my curriculum. I have requested a couple books from the library to use as well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Messy Fun

Lately when we go to the park in our little town we end up getting messy because we are generally playing in the big sandbox or by the river. Today was no different. We packed a picnic lunch and walked to the park to have some fun. Now it's naptime and after naptime we will make some sugar cookies in the shape of pumpkins, bats, & black cats. Those are the only shapes I have for Halloween.
Happy 7th Anniversary to Mommy & Daddy!

Ins & Thrus

Last night for supper, we went to the A&W Drive-in. You don't see a whole lot of drive-ins around these days. We made a picnic out of it and went and sat in the back of the Suburban. So that was kinda fun. Afterwards we went through the drive-thru at Dairy Queen for some cones. They don't have it on their menu board, but if you ask, many of them have Kiddie Cones. Isabel loved it because this was the first time she got a cone to herself and didn't have to share with mommy. Plus she had never eaten the cone before. She giggled when she started eating the cone. It was cute.
We also saw a big hot air balloon in the sky as we were driving there and could see it at the drie-in for a while. Isabel thought that was kind of neat.
"It's too big/fat" is one of Isabel's new things she says. She has been practicing putting things in stuff or getting in things or whatever and if it doesdn't fit she says "It's too big", sometimes it's fat. I know she is learning the concept of size of things in relation to other things, but I just hope she doesn't insult anyone. She tells daddy & I all the time that we are too big as she tries to put her clothes/shoes/etc. on us. This was preceded by a book that referenced size.
Another new favorite saying is "Wow!" said all long and dragged out as she looks at something interesting. She has started saying wow to a lot of things. She got this from mom I believe.
"That's/It's too scary" is another new saying she says a lot. I know we just read a book quite a bit last week called I'm Not Scared and that is what I imagine helped solidify that concept. Although she has really learned what being scared means. For the longest time the only thing she was scared of was spider webs, not the spiders themselves, just the webs. And all toddlers are afraid of strangers to some extent. But yesterday we were looking through the costume bin to pick out clothes for a Halloween party and I put on a Scream mask and she started crying and yelling "No! Mommy! No! Mommy! Take it off! Take it off!" Ok - so I guess she is scared of that. Daddy had some half masks in there that only covered to the mouth and you could see part of the face. She didn't like them, but wasn't terrified like she was of the Scream mask.
I thought for sure I would have to get up to a nightmare in the middle of the night because of that, but I didn't.
We have another busy week with classes and playgroup. Although today we are home for the day and plan to make some cookies together. I got out the Halloween Cookies cutters, so I think she will like making sugar cookies now. It'll be like playing with playdough, except this time we can eat it and cook it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day with Grandma & Grandpa

Well, yesterday daddy's parents came to visit & take care of Isabel while we left for the day & evening to celebrate our anniversary (7 years!) They came early enough so that they could join us at Culturfest. Isabel enjoyed herself. We had never been there before. They had a short little parade that Isabel waved her homemade Sudan flad at while she watched everyone in the parade marching waving their flags. The had these passport books that a kid can go to each station and get stamped. We didn't do the passport book because Isabel would not have cared about that, but we did go to each station as they all had some sort of activity/craft to do.

We ate lunch there and then came home and Isabel played for a bit before we took off and grandma & grandpa took over. From what I hear they had a good time and played with every toy we own.

I took these pictures on Friday night. I got out Isabel's Halloween costumes to see what fit & what didn't. Someone gave me the cow costume (sz 3t), which will be great for being outside. Isabel loves that costume. She says it is jammies and she loves having a tail. She is very fond of the fairy costume as well. I bought that 2 years ago from Target when they had it clearanced for 75% off. It is a size 2t-4t, so it fits perfectly but it's an inside only one as it would be too chilly to wear it outside unless we added layers underneath. She will also use this one for dress-up. And the witch costume I bought last year from Joann Fabrics. This one is 3t-4t and is a little big in the torso area, so we may save this one for next year. Although I think we are doing enough Halloween things that she could have 3 costumes again. I thought I would let her play with them now. No sense in buying these costumes just to wear for a couple hours. She might as well had fun playing dress-up in them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Digging to China

We went to the park this evening and played a lot in the big sandbox. She couldn't be happier.
The other day we drove by Subway she pointed to the restaurant and said "It's Subway" and I was shocked she knew what Subway was. I asked her how she knew and she said "I want a sub." I had a suspicion that there may have been a Subway advertisement in between programs on PBS. Today I sat and watched her programs with her and didn't forward through the commercials and sure enough, a commercial for Subway. So, congratulations to Subway for marketing to children to get them interested. Your marketing is working (well, not all the way because I have not taken her there since she pointed it out, but we do like Subway, so I am sure we will go there soon.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Class Day

I took this picture of Isabel as we were heading out the door to go to school. We call her ECFE class in our town "school" because it is in the preschool room we will go to. She did some painting at school, played with play-doh, played kitchen, played puzzles & computer (& everything else she did during the last half when the parents & kids separate.)

This morning was gymnastics. It went ok. She was an emotional child this morning and I am not sure why, but she was clingy one moment and then independent running all over the place the next minute. She is getting better at listening to me in class, but there is still some work there.

Right now her & daddy are playing kick the ball in the sitting room. I am sure someday something will get broken and we will tell her we can't play ball in the house. Daddy is mixing kicking & & gymnastics. He is having her kick the ball and then do a pike jump or a straddle jump.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Weekend & Today!

Well, today we spent the morning at home because mommy made and canned 9 quarts of spaghetti sauce. But we did get out this afternoon to meet another mom & her kids at the River Bend Nature Center. You can watch this little video (coming soon!) of Isabel fishing pond plants. She's a funny girl. We spent about an hour and a half there at the turtle pond and in the kids outdoor play area building things & exploring. I really like this nature center.

After we came back from the nature center & grocery shopping we had dinner & mommy chopped and froze 8 quarts of tomatoes. Then daddy came home and we played outside as long as we could with the shortening of daylight on this first day of Fall and then went down to her playroom to play until bathtime.
We went to Grandma & Grandpa's house this weekend. We were there for a visit, a birthday party and a baby shower. Busy weekend. Isabel was enjoying wearing the dress-up cowboy hat that was there and the other dress-up hat as well. You can't really tell from the picture, but she is standing on a mini-trampoline that she loved jumping on. In the other picture she is playing in the pile of sand that was just delivered to the farm. She would climb up, jump down, slide down, & dig in the sand. Good fun.
Here is a little collage of pictures of Isabel at the birthday party. It got a little chilly that afternoon/evening so we had to dress a little warmer than we had to in the previous week. It was a good time with good food.
The birthday party is for Isabel's cousin Blake who is actually turning One tomorrow. Instead of digging into the cake like a lot of kids do, he just stuck in one finger to get some frosting & lick it off. It was cute.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The New Arts & Crafts Room

Since the drumset was sold, this room was just being used for storage. It is a small windowless room in the basement. You can see 2 of the corners in here, the other corners have an easel in one and a cabinet (filled with supplies) in another.

So, we did some painting & stamping today and then some coloring. That antique wooden desk was mine when I was a kid (not original to me, of course!) The seat says "Miranda Sit" on it. I have a hunch that Auntie Phanie wrote that on there. She has a little table & chair to use to do painting at and play with play-doh. I bought the foam puzzle mat from Target so that it will hopefully be an easier cleanup on that than on the carpet. I also put up a couple of double hooks to hang her smock and old t-shirts for painting. And then on the wall you can see how I repurposed some items to make it a place to hang her artwork. I was going to make something like my friend Lori has in her basement for the girls, but I don't think I really need it since I have the cabinet to use to store everything.

Isabel is loving it in there. Now we can get messy and then I can close the door on it if I don't want her to go in there and play. It will be a fun room to use.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Well, today was pretty productive for me. I got 2 coats of paint on the arts & crafts room and put up the wallpaper border & assembled it. I will get a picture of Isabel in there later on. Between coats I took a break to do a Yoga Kids video with Isabel. She only did about a quarter of the poses, while the rest of the time she was rolling on the exercise ball or crawling all over me as I tried to do the poses. So, I got more of a workout than intended. I did some yardwork as well. Then this afternoon we took a bike ride to Isabel's old daycare to visit and then I taught Isabel how to put up a wallpaper border. She was excited to use the adhesive. She helped me make supper too. And after daddy got home we all went outside to play football & do somersaults. And when she did the nighttime routine stuff with daddy I made a Target run. I spent a long time there just looking at things. I never get to look anymore, as I am usually trying to keep Isabel from filling the cart with everything she can grab.

Tomorrow we have a playdate at the park with a little girl Isabel's age that we met at ECFE class on Tuesday night. And we may go to storytime at the library tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gymnastics - Week 2

Well, this week gymnastics went much better. We talked quite a bit this morning about listening to mommy so that we can stay for the whole class. She did a much better job of listening, but it also helped that others kids had more confidence this week and were running around a bit & not listening to their parents.

Isabel is wearing her dress-up wings. She loves wearing them, although usually when she is wearing them she wants to "fly" which means we have to carry her around so she can fly.

Today for supper I asked Isabel what she wanted and she said "Eggs!" So, she helped me make friend eggs, toast, & sliced strawberries. She was such a good little helper.

Tonight we had our first ECFE class in our town. It is 1 hour and 15 minutes and is in the preschool room, which is nice that she can spend time in there before she will go to preschool next year. We made a craft while we there and played with lots of toys & play-doh. Then about halfway through the parents & kids separated and the kids had snack time & played more while the parents talked. It was a good class.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Weekend

Well, we will start with Friday morning. We had the first of our Owatonna ECFE class first thing on Friday morning, which means getting up, getting dressed, eat & out the door. It was a good class. Isabel had a good time and the hour and 15 minutes flew by. So, I think that will be fun. Afterwards, we met a couple moms from playgroup at a (new to us) park. Even though we lived here before we never really had the reason to go to all these parks. She was so little that we only went to the one park in town, so now we get to explore all sorts of parks. When Isabel got up from her nap our friends (Elizabeth, Sofia, & Tommy) from WI came to visit us for the weekend. I made us a nice meal of veggie lasagna, spaghetti for the kids, garlic bread, wine for the parents, and steamed peas. That night my friend Carrie came over to hang out with us & laugh.

Pretty much all day Saturday it rained, which meant we pretty much stayed inside. We did get a chance to go outside and do some puddle jumping. Puddle Jumping is one of Isabel's favorite sports and she has become a pro ans seeking out the biggest puddles and getting the biggest splash. So, she had to introduce Sofia to this wonderful sport. Sofia loved it and they took home a pair of rainboots of Isabel's to borrow this next month until we see them again.

Saturday evening we went to Target and then to El Tequila for dinner. It is our favorite local place to dine. The girls were very intrigured by the pink drinks their mommies were drinking, so we had to get them their own in a kids cup. Once I had finished mine I had to pour the rest into my cup for her.
Here are a couple of pictures of our wonderful friends. All three kids were so nice and went down easily and earlier than their normal bedtimes, so us parents had time to chat and watched a movie (In the Land of Women) we had Tivo'ed . They left late this morning. We will get to see them again at the end of October when we go back for a visit.

Thanks for coming to visit us!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

U of M Southern Research Center Open House

This afternoon we went to the U of M Southern Research Center's Open House. You can see the bullet points in the collage below to see what we all did. It was a fun time. Remember that you can click on a picture/collage to enlarge it.

Tomorrow our friends Elizabeth, Sofia, & Tommy from Wisconsin are coming to visit us for the weekend. We are looking forward to having them come stay with us. Tomorrow morning we have Isabel's first ECFE class since being back (that other one we were supposed to do on Tuesday was canelled, bah!)

Cabela's Visit & Lunch at Wendy's

We went to Cabela's today to look at the animals. Isabel has been asking to go to the zoo this last week (she's never asked for that before) and this was the closest we were going to get. I'll try to take her to an actual zoo in the next week. She was pretty happy with it and when we were in one area of animals she would say "Let's go another zoo" and point to another area she wanted to go to. Very cute.
After Cabela's we stopped and Wendy's and went inside for lunch. I guess I never eat inside there (& haven't been there in a long time) because we were not of the dinig demographic profile of this Wendy's, as everyone was either elderly or a trucker (since there is a truck gas station with parking net door). I was also surprised to see that the things I would have normally ordered (small chili, side salad, baked potato with chives) were no longer 99 cents but were $1.49. That's a pretty hefty increase (not like it's breaking the bank, but it's a 50% increase.) It didn't stop me from ordering the chili though, which was yummy. In the picture above you see how Isabel uses crackers. She loves having crackers with things, but she doesn't eat them with the item, she uses the cracker as a sort of holder for other food and after she is done eating the food (cheese, chicken nuggets, etc.) off the top them she will eat the cracker separately. Funny.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Straight River Park

We went to the Straight River Park (our park here) this morning after we had someone come to look at the roof to give is a quote (there is also another guy here as I type is looking at it to give us another quote.) Anyways, we took a bike ride there and played & had a snack. We played on the equipment for a while and then I decided to introduce her to the river, which I had been putting off because I wanted her to enjoy playing on the equipment.

You can watch a short 10-second video of her throwing rocks as well. She had fun when we went by the river. We talked about the different sounds larger & smaller rocks make, how some things float (leaves & some sticks) and some things sink (rocks & some sticks) and we watched the ripples we made. We walked on a trail along the river and she was excited to see an island (the river is really low, so normally you wouldn't see that) and picked a wild flower, walked on some rocks & stomped in some mud (my pants are filthy from her mud.)
It was a good morning. This afternoon she was rather cranky with me as I had to wake her up because she was taking too long of a nap. I had some friends here for a Happy Hour and she was not very friendly towards them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Looks Can Be Deceiving

So this morning we had her first gymnastics class. Yes, we have done a free class once & have gone to several open gyms at gymnastics centers, but this was the first time she took a class that I signed her up for. I bought her this cute little outfit to bounce around in. And when we got there we were a little early and she did not like that we couldn't go in & start playing. I should have known then that this might not be so fun for us.

She looks so cute & sweet, but she didn't act anything like sweet. On her third & final warning, we ended up leaving from class 10 minutes early. She was not good about taking directions from me and I pulled her aside twice and gave her a warning to start listening or we would go home. I really didn't want to, but I had to follow through or it might never get better. The straw was when she wouldn't get out of the foam block pit because she wanted to jump around in it, not walk from one shirt side to the other like instructed. Would she have done better if I wasn't there and she just had the instructor to listen to? I don't know. She always seemed to do good at the Y when she had her classes by herself and had to take instruction from another adult.

We'll keep trying (& leaving if neccessary) through this session because I paid for it and can't be refunded (plus I had to pay the yearly membership fee as well, so that would kinda suck if we paid that for a year and we only do one session.)

I don't think the open gyms helped us, as she knew how to use everything and wasn't afraid or unsure. She was overly confident and wanted to do everything right away, even if we weren't working on that particular piece of equipment. During the open gyms she could just run around and do what she wanted, which is what she wanted to do today. Now she has to be taught how to be a gymnastics student and I hope she catches on soon, because I don't like the looks I got from the other moms. Looks that said "Control Your Child" or "She's Mean Making Her Leave" or "Been There". I wish more of the looks were for "Been There", but I don't think they were. I think for the most part most of these kids had never seen a gymastics center before and never tried the equipment and were just too scared to be sassy or overly independent. There were a couple of other kids I noticed that would run off & moms go chasing them, but then Isabel would run after them as well, like it was permission to do what she wanted. So, other moms might have been frustrated as well, but I was too busy trying to get my child to listen that I didn't notice.

This afternoon we have an ECFE class called "Your 5 Senses". They have these themed classes and you can sign up for whichever you want. This is the only one we signed up for because starting next week she will have her regular parent-tot ECFE class in the evening here in our town and I thought 2 things in one day was more than enough. I would have rather just done one thing a day, but as it turns out this is the only day of the Tiny Tots gymnastics and the only day for our town's ECFE class. We are taking an ECFE class on Friday mornings in the neighboring town and I chose the one & only separating class (out of 5 Two's Classes) so that she could get instruction from someone other than me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Godather's Tour & Weekend Photos

Today we joined our playgroup for a tour of Godfather's Pizza. It was kinda neat because we got to see how they store things, make the dough, make the crusts, and got to put our own topping on personal pizzas. Isabel was all sorts of brave in the restaurant until we got in back by the big equipment and strangers. But she was intersted in seeing how it was all done, as long as she could hold on to mom's leg or be carried. They even gave us a deal on lunch. We basically paid for our pizzas and got pop & salad bar for free. Very cool.

Here is Isabel & daddy in the Big Sandboxon Saturday. The actual sandbox at this park doesn't have much sand left in it, plus the volleyball courts of sand is so impressive & much more tempting.
We got out the puppet theater that Isabel's grandparents made her last year. It was packed away and not has surfaced and we set up in her room (since we keep the puppets in there, and it can fold us nicely & go in the closet.) She didn't quite get how it all works yet as she didn't actually want to sit & watch, she just wanted to play with the puppets and not necessarily have a show. what she likes using the theater for was to drape blankets over it & her desk chair to make it her "house". She kept trying to get daddy or mommy to get her her house with her, but we didn't fit very well.

Isabel has been a big sweetheart today. At breakfast she told me she liked the banana muffins I made and thanked me for them. Then she saw I didn't have juice & asked why, when I told her I gave her the rest she gave me her juice and said she was going to share with me. And we had lots of "bonkas" and kisses at breakfast. And while at Godfather's she insisted on sharing her lemonade with me and giving me hugs & kisses. What a sweetie!

No Pictures, Yes Videos

Well, I do have pictures from this weekend, but for some reason when I try to add them Blogger freezes up. Well, at least YouTube is working correctly so you can watch 3 different little videos of Isabel Smashing Sandcastles (35 sec.), Trying to Play Volleyball (40 sec.) and Running Around (1 min.2sec.)

Later, when it is working properly, I will add a picture from our playing in the "Big Sandbox" and our puppet theater play.

We stayed home all day Saturday & Sunday, with the exception of doing some grocery shopping.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Minot Brown Park

Yesterday we met our new playgroup at Brown Park. I had never been there before. They have a very nicce new pavillion. The playground was quite large and she had a little fun. It was a little overwhelming at first for her because she didn't know what to do first. Some of the stuff there is definitly geared toward an older child and there isn't as much to do for the real little ones.

She spent most of her time in the "big sandbox" as she puts it, but really it a sand volleyball court. One of the moms brought some fun sand toys, so she had fun with those. We played a "big sandbox" a couple days ago as well. I really need to get her "traveling" sand toys back in my car. She doesn't need all of them in her sanbox anyways.

Last night we had a "picnic" meal with the neighbors & some of their friends. Their son was back for a visit and we had this really nice potluck. It was supposed to be outdoors, but it was sprinkling, so it was mostly indoors. Isabel did a great job entertaining herself. Mary had an art set there and a coloring book, so she spent a lot of time painting & coloring. Now I just have to see if I can get the paint out of her hoodie, the arms are covered in different colors.

Not much else planned this weekend, just probably finishing upacking & tidying up for visits from friends this week.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Playing Dress-Up

Daddy & I were playing dress up with Isabel last night. She loves to play dress up and has developed quite a collection of play dress up clothes to use. She was also enjoying dancing to her Leapfrog Guitar as it plays little songs and you can watch a video of that on YouTube.
Today, Isabel helped me with grocery shopping and this afternoon we went for a walk with mommy's friend Linda. We ended up and the park and someone left their volleyball there, so we had fun playing with that. Mom got a good workout lifting her up high so that she sould throw the ball over the net to Linda.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Upcoming Festivals to Make Note of:

Sept 11 (Thurs)
U of M South Research Center Open House

Sept 12-13 (Fri & Sat)

Sept 13-14 (Sat & Sun)
Tree Frog Music Festival

Sept 27 (Sat)

Oct 25 (Sat)
Enchanted Forest

Gainey Park

Today we met a new mom (well, new to us) Melissa and her kids Abigail and Logan at Gainey Park today. It was nice to get out and talk to someone. Yesterday we were at home all day, which was fine, but I just can't stay home all day for too many days in a row or I get stir crazy. Anyways, we had fun and here a few pictures of Isabel on some of the equipment. Next week we will start her gymnastics class and ECFE class, so we will start to get in more of a routine.

She did play nicely in her playroom yesterday while I worked out on the treadmill & with weights. We took turns checking in on each other and the mess of toys in her playroom wasn't too bad either. After I finished working out we played with Tinker Toys together and made a big castle. She is really into castles the past few days.

Right now I am reading The Why Cafe for book club. It is a relatively short book and very fast read, but really makes you think. I only sat down and read it for a short while yesterday and am half done and while she naps now I hope to finish it up.

Isabel's "Coffee"

This morning when I was making my green tea she wanted some, so I decided to try hot chocolate once again. She LOVED it! I made it with milk, in hopes I would have some other way to get her to drink some milk as she really doesn't care to drink much milk. Sometimes daddy & I have coffee as well, and she sometimes says we are having coffee when it is indeed tea. I think she thinks hot chocolate is a version of coffe because she kept saying "Bel has coffee, hot chocolate." She refers to herseld as Bel often. Mommy's family usually calls her Bel, but we tend to call her Isabel, although I have been calling her Bel more & more since that is what she calls herself.

Until it was cool she kept using the spoon. After it was cool (not just warm) she picked it up and drank it all. I had a feeling she would love it as she has a weak spot for chocolate.

Garage Kitty

This is our garage kitty (for the time being). We saw our neighbor kid come over and stick it in our bushes. The kitty went around the house to practically every door trying to find a way in. So after hearing it profusely mewing, I went out & took it into the indoor/outdoor garage dog kennel and stuck it in there with food & water. It lives there now, won't Molly be surprised when she comes home at the end of the month. Our town only has a dog catcher, so I called the neighboring town's animal control and they said they only work within their city limits and to call the Cty Humane Society, which I did and they are a foster home based program and said they didn't have a foster home for the cat but would try to find one. They never called me back. Now I am going to have to call the neighboring county Humane Society (who has a building) and see if they will take it. It's such a nice kitty, so playful & energetic. But we just can't have another cat. Larry already has enough personality for seven cats and is big enough to be two cats, plus we have Lucy & our dog Molly. So, if anyone out there that is nearby wants this kitty, let me know. I did put up Found signs, but turns out there are other Found signs out there that have the same cat description on them. Poor kitty.

Monday, September 01, 2008

River Bend Nature Center

Well, since daddy is still not feeling well we called mommy's friend Linda and she came with us to hike around River Bend Nature Center. I am glad Linda remembers what it is like to have a toddler who likes to stop for every little stick & leaf and explore it and climb the rocks over & over again. I look a little drunk in that picture. Oh well.

She loved fishing in the turtle pond with a stick. I think mommy & Isabel will come back again and bring some nets and a bucket with us ad play some more in the turtle pond.


Yesterday was kinda a lazy day. We did go to church and she had a fun time playing in the nursery. We are trying out churches trying to find one that is the right fit for us. I think we might check out 1 or 2 more. The rest of the day we stayed in the house. Daddy has been sick (bad allergies maybe) and so we closed up the house & turned on the air. We did play quite a bit here. We had a party in her playroom with cake & juice (all pretend) and we made some other pretend food. It was cute to see her playing pretend. She also had a Care Bear at her little table so it could have a party with us. We also played lots of "soccer ball" and ring-a-round the rosie and jumped on lots of pillows. Isabel will say, "Mommy, play soccer ball, come play soccer ball." She had this Dora ball that she likes to kick, which I am certain we are starting something that will be dangerous in a couple of years (or maybe even tomorrow) when something gets broken.