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When I scroll through news feeds on FB it is mostly filled with ads, you-tube shares, quotes and generic pictures...fat, fat and more fat.  This is my attempt to reach more family (friends too) and to cut out the "fat" and share a little more meat. I will share it all, as failures are what I learn the most from and you will likely laugh the most at! My hope is that it makes you smile and you truly enjoy reading about my adventures with "These Two Boys"!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Scientist

Last year was my first year to do a pumpkin scientist night with our boys.  They had a blast, so I am going to be doing it again.

I did this activity with my first graders when I was a teacher and it was so much fun.  The idea is for the kids to go through the 5 steps of the scientific method.  I made papers for each of them with what they thought they would find and then a space for what they actually did find. Setting up centers before hand works best Some of the questions I asked were:

1. Will your pumpkin sink or float? try cucumbers, gourds and other veggies too!
2. How much does your pumpkin weigh?
3. How many seeds are in your pumpkin?
4.What is the circumference of your pumpkin? You can measure with a measuring tape or string and ruler if you don't have a bendable tape

To get an accurate weight I always had my first graders weigh themselves and then hold the pumpkin and weigh again.  Then they made a math problem out of it.  for younger kids just placing the pumpkin on and reading the scale is great learning opportunity. After they have measured, weighed, and water tested the pumpkin, we measure and cut the top off to count seeds.  I also asked my boys how it felt and what they thought about it.  I got gushy, and icky right away, then we had a lot of fun adding synonyms to those as well.  To probe them a little more I asked them: 
Is it hot or cold?
     wet or dry?
     what color is it?

We then designed our pumpkins on paper before carving them into Halloween jack'o'lanterns! 

They did prove themselves wrong with a couple of the questions last year and I am wondering if they will remember this year what they found last year. I will add the boys answers once we do the scientist part with our pumpkins.  Below I have added some pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch and our pumpkin design night!
 We decided to skip the carny celebrations with rides and bounce houses and take the boys to a real farm where we could pick our own pumpkins straight from the vine this year. We were worried they would really miss the rides and bounce houses but so far it hasn't even come up and they had so much fun playing in the hay, riding the hay ride and picking veggies.  

 Have I mention this kid wants to fly when he grows up...




He wasn't quite finished here, he added more to the mouth.  Tukker wanted him to be saying "aaaaaaa!!"  It was really fun to create the pumpkin that he designed!!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!






Monday, October 21, 2013

E-I-E-I-O

It has been quite some time since I have blogged!  I have really missed it.  I have so much to share but first wanted to share the events and details of Brekkon's 3rd birthday party.  
Brekkon wanted an E-I-E-I-O birthday party.  The specific request was a sheep and a red barn.  This is what we came up with! 

~THE MENU~



 The sweet tea in Mason jars was a huge hit!
 A sheep cake for Brekkon just as he requested.

~Mahaffey Farm~



Friends loaded up with their farm gear upon arival...









The petting farm that came had rabbits, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats. 



Brekkon followed "Cuddles" around all afternoon.

 




My father in law just happens to be a farmer so he was blessed with the privileged of leading all the kids through a planting peas activity!  He was such a trooper!

The little goat was a hit, Brekkon was able to bottle feed him plus he jumped up on the food table twice!! Isn't he cute?


My greatest friend April took all the pictures for me so I could relax and enjoy the party...She is simply the best!  I had the invites and printing done with Pretty Little Parties.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREKKON!!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

For the Love of Books

     In the last year as the boys have grown and nap time has moved back, disappeared mostly, the range of activities and general "business" has grown.  It is nice to have that flexibility to go and do, but on occasion I miss the slower paced days where we only planned to be out for a couple hours.  During those times, when the boys were younger we read much more.  The boys love to read.  My all time favorite thing to do with them is to grab a stack of books, sit in a rocking chair with them on my laps, snuggle up and dig into some good books.  Insistent that this time doesn't dissipate, that it just looks different, I started to make some great changes I have loved.
     We made reading an activity to go and do. We go to the library every week or two, and pick out books, lots and lots of books(they even have a rocking chair). The boys participated in the summer reading challenge, and picked a prize after reading a certain amount of time and coloring the corresponding pictures.  Having all of those books somehow makes us sit down, take it slow and read a little.  We could not possibly return them unread!  We keep them in a separate basket in the living room so they do not get lost. Until recently it was the only room in the house that didn't have books (which I believe has been a great promoter in general to read). On our most recent trip to the library, I pulled out a book for Brekkon to look at quietly so I could choose some for the house.  As I am looking I hear him in his very best library voice saying "mmmm-uuuu-dddd dddd-oooo-ggg."  He then jumps quickly to his feet and shouts "MUD DOG?" He then proceeds to laugh, running around the library yelling "mud dog, and then the clean little dog rolled around in the mud and got all dirty" during all of this of course I am chasing him calling out "Library Voice Brekkon...LIBRARY VOICE PLEASE".  In retrospect it was funny, but at the time....embarrassing!




     Another change we recently made is  instead of taking toys in the car, that rarely come out, we take books and sometimes magazines.  They fit nicely into the back pocket seat in front of them and they can pick one out when they get in (it gives us more room for things like tap shoes and in-n-out hats).  Brekkon has books in his pocket that he has memorized mostly.  Hearing their little voices read to me in the car is just so, so sweet.

    I have been trying to place books where they are easy to get to and put away and where the boys have a fun place to read them.  I didn't know how wonderful Tukker's reading nook would really be for him.  We often find him laying in his little hideout reading or browsing books on his own.
Here is a picture of most of our book places we have around the house for the boys.

Here's hoping that our continual evolution of our reading time will keep there love of books alive for a lifetime!
THE END




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fins. Thrust. Countdown....Blast Off

We finally have gotten everything put away from our flood, with that I had lots of boxes that were now not needed...well not for me.  The boys immediately climbed in to use them as rockets, cars, garages and any thing else their little minds could imagine.

A couple days later we were at the library and I found a book on display titled Not a Box. It was wonderful and full of imagination, so we checked it out.  Tukker asked if we could build a rocket out of the boxes. That sounded like fun.

Little did I know what a wonderful project it would turn into for them. They ended up seeing shapes in negative space that needed to be filled, learned a new shape, did an impromptu science experiment, and researched the design of a rocket online! Tukker and Brekkon both contributed more than I thought they would be able to on the ideas of the construction of it.  They helped tape pieces together and also decided on how to attach pieces to the ship. While doing the outside of the rocket Tukker told me that some of the box was not steady and he would reinforce it again with tape once he got inside the rocket. Good thing because I couldn't see myself getting in there!



The little details mattered.  Brekkon wanted circle windows and Tukker wanted square ones, and it nearly became a screaming disaster.  I quickly suggested they look at pictures online to see what real rocket windows where shaped like(Brekkon also told Tukker "you will see you are wrong when we look it up on google").  From there came the ideas of adding fins to the rocket, and what shape are they exactly? A Parallelogram!! This was a new shape for them and Tukker was fascinated that he could make one out of 2 triangle pieces from the top that we had cut out. He and Brekkon assembled those on their own. Tukker's last request was to have fire come out of the bottom so the rocket could fly, Brekkon agree that this was a wonderful idea. Hmm ..The alternative that I came up with was fun.  We laid a garden hose out in the yard and turned it on full blast, they were able to see it thrust backwards when the force of water came out...just like a rocket when it takes off.  

Currently they are astronauts, flying around the house exclaiming, "we have no gravity....AHHHHHH!"

Oh and I nearly forgot, Tukker's life long dream to be the garbage man has now been thrown out(pun intended) ... he will now be an astronaut! All of this from a couple of boxes...


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The not so wonderful part about TWO

The wonderful, wonderful part of children desiring more independence around the age of 2 is that they want to do things on their own.  This is super because while Brekkon gets dressed I can be making his breakfast or while he buckles himself in his car seat then I can be starting the car or checking to make sure we have other things we need for our outing.  You can get ready faster and be more efficient.   Plus there is such a wonderful sense of accomplishment when he does it ALL BY HIMSELF!  I often let him wear his flip-flops on the wrong feet or his underwear backwards because it is something he did on his own and it just doesn't matter that much.  There might be a little clean up for me when he washes his hands, but he is doing it on his own...YAY!!
         
                         drew and glued all by himself...he's so proud                                       backwards undies and completely ok with it                                          wrong order buddy
                                                                         more courage


The not so wonderful part about independence(in fact I would call it absolutely teeth grinding) are the fits.   Oh they are horrible!  The last couple of weeks Brekkon has decided to exercise this part of his independence, usually caused by frustration, not getting what he wants or disobeying. Our house was peaceful last week and we were all excited to go get a Slurpee (they were free at 7-11). Brekkon couldn't get his shoes on, and before I could bend down to help he was throwing his shoes at me, kicked the dog, and then slammed the door on Tukker. I wanted to stop this in its tracks, I'm not willing to take it as a phase he will get through on his own and I am not willing to give him what he wants to stop the fits.  I knew if I wanted them to stop quickly the consequences had to be big and immediate to show him this is a big problem.  
These are somethings that I have done that have helped... in this order.
Emphasize what I want:  Instead of telling him what not to do(because that is what he hears, the behavior will usually continue) I tell him what to do, "use words Brekkon, tell me I'm having trouble with my shoes will you help me please Mommy" If he doesn't know what words to use then saying "use words" does not give him the tools to deal with his frustration
Isolation:  I start with sitting on the stairs, but if it continues(much more that 10 seconds) he goes up stairs to sit in a recliner in the room, if it continues I close the door.  No toys, just sitting.  He can come down when he is ready to be obedient, or use words.  
 A Consistent Consequence:  If I tell him he doesn't get a Slurpee, he doesn't get one...I have to follow through. He didn't get one.  He had to come and watch Tukker get one. It was a big deal though because the last time we got one was one year ago when they were giving free Slurpees. This is hard and often very inconvenient.  He didn't have a fit again until today(almost a week later) when we were at the pool and had to leave after just getting there. I REALLY did not want to leave.
Sympathy:  I always let my kiddos know that I'm so sorry/sad they are not getting a Slurpee(or to swim or samples at Sams) because of their behavior at home or at the pool, but I know they will make a better choice next time so that they get to do those fun things.  Then its on them, their choice results in their consequence.  You can be sorry even though a consequence must be delivered.

These are somethings that haven't work...OOPSY!
Consequences I can't follow through on:  I told Brekkon I would get a babysitter for him and Tukker and I would go run errands one day.  It made him very upset, but he still did not obey and I didn't get a babysitter because I couldn't last minute.  So the only person who learned was me.  
Getting mad:  It just raises the emotions, and if I'm trying to teach him how to control his emotions then I'm not emphasizing what I want.  Sticking with the "I'm so sorry your choosing to behave like this" keeps me sympathetic. You can be sympathetic and loving and still expect appropriate behavior. 

A couple weeks ago we had several days that were absolutely horrible!  However, since using this as a teaching opportunity that must be done with intention and purpose the days between fits increasingly grows very quickly.  
                           If your a mom of a 2 year old hang in there, stick with it, and ask for prayer!! 
                                 -From a Mom who wishes she were swimming xoxo

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Honor

Early last week, but way too last minute, I was inspired by my husband's role in protecting our country and the upcoming holiday to do a week on "Honor".  My goal was to teach them different ways that we can honor God, our country and us(Mommy and Daddy).  This is what I came up with...

The first day we did our word ring word with a verse I love and our I will statement.   

"Stand firm, let nothing move you, always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord..." 
1 Corinthians 15:28


I will
-put my hand over my heart to say the pledge to the flag
-say thank you to the people who protect our country
-respect my Mommy and Daddy(always a good one to work on)
-honor God by loving and helping others 

The second day we did a flag art activity that I saw on Meaningful Mama, it turned out great!  It was a much longer activity than I thought and we broke it into 2 separate time segments. Tukker learned a lot about using scissors, and the "ah-ha" moment finally came.  Brekkon had lots of fun just snipping the paper and getting used to using them. He was so excited to find a red cool-aid man to add to the flag. 

Tukker counting and pasting 50 stars and Brekkon counting the 13 stripes

 We talked about saluting the flag, folding the flag, not letting it touch the ground, and other ways to honor the flag.  Matt and I were nearly scared out of our pants when both boys saw a flag waving while driving down the road and yelled "SALUTE!" from the back seat. I turned around and saw both boys with their hand over their eyes saluting the flag....Yay they got it(plus it was really cute)!! 

We Tye-dyed shirts and got ready to celebrate...that got messy really fast!

We went to the library and checked out some great american song books and some books about helping others.

As we drove away in the holiday traffic, Tukker yelled Thank you to a police women out the window.  Not exactly the model of appreciation I was trying to convey but he's getting the point. It was a fun holiday week of Fireworks, crafts, football, picnics and more fireworks!    


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vacation Bible School

Tukker attended VBS last week, and what a blessing!

Our church doesn't offer drop off VBS for kids under 5 so I decided to enroll him in the Green Valley Baptist church VBS for the week.  I heard from a friend that they had an amazing children's program.  Can you believe that even though we are not members, Tukker was enrolled for FREE from 9am-12pm for the entire week!  Now I know its really not uncommon. The theme was Colossal Coaster:  Facing Fear and Trusting God.  I was so excited because only a couple of weeks ago we did a character development week on courage.  

It was such a fun time for him, he learned a lot and told me all about everything he did on the ride home...everything he remembered anyhow.  For example, he told about building a jail with Legos and locking up his friends in it, turning his juice box in to a boat and sailing it in the water, or walking on a rope with his eyes shut...OK so it took a little bit of probing the first couple days to get him to tell me that the jail was for Paul and Silas, or that the juice box boat represented the ship Paul was on where he didn't get to eat.  Each day this sequence would repeat. He would tell me something they did and usually by the end of our 20 minute drive home I could figure out how the activity related to the bible story of Paul.   He sung in a performance the last night, and still asks me to put on the Vacation bible school music.  

Brekkon and I enjoyed a lot of one on one quality time together while Tukker was there.  All in all, I know if we will ever miss another VBS again.  The church did have an amazing children's program and I was really impressed with how they ran it!  
                     He is an airplane here...in case you can't tell         He LOVES Pooh


All dressed up for the production, Thanks for the super cute outfits G.G. & Jeepy!!








Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Summer "FUN" List

I want our summer to be intentional and fun.  I created a list of things for the boys and I to do this summer, yes I am a tad late. Each week with their help(and some guidance) we will pick out some fun things to do.  Some are specific to the Vegas area, but plenty others you could do anywhere.  I am hanging the list on the back of our laundry room door.  We have already done a few of the activities or at least put the ball into motion on some.  




Friday, June 21, 2013

Time to Bake

I have not been baking lately because it seems way to hot to turn on the oven.  Yesterday Tukker reminded me that we have not made cookies in a VERY long time.  It has been a week but to a 4 year old I would have to guess that is a very long time when you are used to your Mom making cookies every other day.

So we pulled out the measuring cups and spoons, lined them up biggest to smallest, then smallest to biggest and started making some peanut butter cookies.  I always have the boys help pour ingredients, crack the eggs and anything else to get the dough made.  Yesterday though I decided to let them help me roll the balls into dough and put them on the cookie sheet.  When Tukker asked and I responded, "sure!" Matt looked at me as if I were crazy(I am a little).  What he didn't know is after we were done I was going to send the boys right on over to him to get cleaned up  Hahahaha!! They actually did really well forming balls and using the fork to make the signature peanut butter print in the cookies.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

No More Naps

Tukker is such a good sleeper.  When you tell him it is time to nap or go to bed, if he is the least bit tired, he is out within minutes.  He will even tell you he is tired or ready to go to bed.  Brekkon is the complete opposite...of course. He is NEVER tired and will do everything in his power to not fall asleep.  He will bang his head on the side of his car seat, sing a song, or make up his own language... he fights sleep every time. Tukker started to skip naps only a couple months ago and I hoped that Brekkon would drop his at the same age.  However the last couple of weeks he will either sing throughout the ENTIRE napping period or he will nap and then sing till 10:30 in the evening after he has been in bed for 2 hours.  

I like  love nap time, its my time to catch up on things, do a project, play with my new puppy or just rest.  So I REALLY do not want to give that time up.  Where there's a will there is a way right?

Both boys have done independent play time since they were very small.  This is a concept from Babywise. I started at about 3 months with Tukker in a pack n play, for 5 min(Brekkon a little later). Then slowly progressed up to 45 minutes by 18 months and a bigger space.  By the time the boys were 2 they would play in their room for 1 hour in the mornings that we were home.  The benefits to room-time include, mental focusing skills, sustained attention span, creativity, and self-play adeptness.  When they have time to play by themselves I notice that they get along better with each other and friends too.   The most important aspect of this time is that they are learning to focus and play with the things they have.  

Room-time has made it very easy to transition to what I am calling quiet center's.  Quiet centers are replacing our nap time.
I have 4 centers(each about 30 minutes):
Read
Build
Play 
Watch
The boys pick 5 books they would like to read/look at and I give them one activity to do after they finish their books such as a stack of puzzles, workbench constructing train tracks, legos, magnet toys, or blocks. I choose construction activities because they build problem solving skills, creativity and are linked with better math skills.  I set the timer for an hour.Then I tell them that after they hear the bell they can play with the toys I have chosen and set out either in a basket or in a corner on the floor.  I let them play 30 minutes after the bell rings and then they come down stairs for a show. We limit the TV that the boys watch, so its a great reward at the end for doing quiet centers quietly. Today was Brekkon's first day to do quiet center's and I was so impressed he only came out once to ask to get another book.  He will be set up in the guest room until his room gets put back together from the overflowing toilet.
Tukker doesn't like to draw much but he does like the dry erase book and it's a good quiet center thing for him to do on his own because I don't think I want to let Brekkon loose with a marker yet!

 These are some of the toys I set out for Brekkon today.  When I peeked in we was putting the shape in as he said "oval".
 Here he was pointing out the exclamation point, taught by his Aunt Minni. Now when we read to him and we don't say a word with LOTS of excitement that ends with exclamation point he always tells us how to say it.


           Yesterday we were given a very cool set of wooden train tracks from a friend.  I love that we have a place to keep these for him to build.  We have a fun train table downstairs but we glued the tracks down.  He has already had a lot of fun constructing paths, bridges and roads with them.  His Grammy, the crazy train person will be proud!!