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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"!

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):
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!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day Fun

Happy Father's Day!!

I had a lot of fun with the boys this year making some special gifts for Matt.  I thought this year they were old enough to participate a little bit more.  I started the search for a cute gift that he would love and we could make together.

This one was fun! I found it on Pinterest. I don't know what it is about little feet...but they are just so cute! It seems like I have been doing a lot of "feet" crafts lately. The hardest part was writing letters on the bottom of the boys feet without them squirming so much you don't mess the letter up.  If I do it again I would put the letter's a little higher on their feet.  I really had to have the boys flex their toes to be able to get a good picture of them and their cute little feet.

Tukker knows how to write his name but hasn't ever written anything else.  I thought it would be very special that he wrote about why he loved his daddy for his very first group of words.  So we practice letters and he thought of some reasons he loved his daddy, picked his favorite, and then we wrote it on paper.  Brekkon is our artistic one, he loves to paint, and really create anything so I had him make the frame for what Tukker wrote, and a card too.

We are also going to make chocolate covered bacon with brown sugar, toasted coconut, peanuts, and other sprinkled goodies on top.  I will update tomorrow with a picture.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tadpole to Frog

I often just dive into things before gathering all of the information and looking at the whole picture.  I don't think this is always a bad thing.  But it sure does make for lots of surprises along the way.

A couple months ago I mentioned to my aunt that there are different type of hands on "animal kits" that can be ordered and sent to your house.  We both agreed that the frog kit for little boys would be fun.  She sat down right then and ordered them from Nature Gifts.  She didn't have to think about anything though because they were not coming to HER house.   It HAS been fun and a great experience for the boys to see the entire process of metamorphosis happen in our own home...in our kitchen to be precise, but there have been a lot of surprises too.

The tadpoles arrived in about three days in plastic bag full of water, they were complete with the habitat, directions and all the food they would need for there tadpole life.  When they become a frog however, you must go get them live crickets. Yep they go from plant-eating to meat-eating. As I write I hear chirping...cricket chirping.

 These are some of the books we read as we have been watching our tadpoles change.
-Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus is a great book on the inside changes that happen during metemorphis
-From Tadpole to Frog  by Wendy Pfeffer introduces the fact that they hibernate during the winter
-The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a cute story and educational too

Both Tukker and Brekkon know the changes that happen outside and inside throughout the process of metamorphosis now.  They even role play the stages of the frogs and wrap themselves in blankets to be inside a cocoon also.
Here is a picture of a tadpole with back legs and a frog-let with four legs.  


 I figured we would just release these little hoppers once they became, well, little hoppers.  There are plenty of options such as the pet store and re-homing them, but it is a little more complicated than just releasing them.  The most complicated part is that I now have a 4 year old that calls them his buddies.
For the experience it is pretty inexpensive, easy and doesn't take a lot of space and knowing what I know now I would do it again!! On to the next project!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pancakes in Pajamas

Saturday's we have pancakes in our pajamas.  Matt lets me sleep in or lounge around while he and the boys make a big ol' fun mess in the kitchen.  The boys like to eat in their pajamas because every other day we get dressed before breakfast.  They make blueberry pancakes, coconut pancakes, pancakes shaped like letters, favorite color pancakes.  Last Saturday, Matt was gone, so I was on pancake duty.  I remembered some rainbow stacked pancakes that I had seen on Meaningful Mama.  She made them for St. Patrick's day, but I wanted to make them so they could explore and mix primary and secondary colors.  I implement her character development lessons often, and once in a while I will try a recipe of hers too.  This was just an idea and it was really easy.  I just took my favorite pancake recipe and divided the batter into 6 different bowls. I used only red, yellow and blue to make the 6 colors so they could see how mixing 2 primary colors made a different(secondary) color.  We read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh before, to introduce what we were going to be doing.  It's a great interactive book about mixing colors.  They both helped add and mix ingredients. Tukker choose to pour the sugar in his mouth rather than the mixing bowl so he had to fold his hands and watch while Brekkon did colors.  Even though we had mixed color water before to achieve similar results the boys where still very impressed with the color mixing to form another color. The rainbow pancakes were a lot of fun to eat too!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Really Big Potty Problem

When exactly does potty trouble end? 

Potty trouble most certainly does not end when they are potty trained!  If you have read any of my previous blogs you know we are having "aiming" difficulties in our house...with both boys actually.  In addition to that there are wiping and flushing difficulties too(must I elaborate?).   In addition to that there have been multiple attempts to hide "miss fires" from Tukker.    
The first one he tried to mop up with toilet paper, and a few others with the hand towel.  He even said once, "It's just drying down there, mommy, from my pee... we can use it later."  

Last night after the boys were tucked soundly into bed, I headed for the shower.  I am guessing this is when all mothers shower because there is no way it can be done successfully while little ones are up. About 2 minutes in Tukker comes in crying that water is coming out of the toilet and in to the hall..."and now, now it is ALL over the place!" he calls as I am getting out as fast as I possibly can.  Matt is in the garage and rushes up to turn the water from the toilet off.   I bet that toilet wasn't running 4 minutes, and it went into Brekkon's room, the hall and soaked through to our closet. The sewage water was everywhere, Tukker had walked through it, the new puppy was walking through it, and I nearly walked through it myself, GROSS!  
Tukker immediately told us that he had used more than his allotted squares, a lot more he said.  Maybe it is because it would have been hard to hide, but he didn't try to hide and handle it himself like previous attempts.  He came and told me right away. Plus he gave a very remorseful apology on his own.  Sooner(thankfully) than later, I realized that these were 3 character breakthroughs that I had very much been working on with him. Hopefully they will stick! Realizing this put me in a wonderful spirit and today while guys ripped half of the upstairs flooring and walls out we went to play at the pool. 
More than any skill that my boys could posses I want them to have great character and love Jesus, so that is what we focus on the most and everything that encompasses them.  
So thank you God, for home insurance...and character breakthroughs. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Little Sponges

Tukker and Brekkon soak up everything into those little brains of theirs.   I am constantly amazed at how much they can remember especially when information is presented to them in a fun, tactile, or kinesthetic way.  Then I dig deep and remember that, oh yeah, 90% of the brain is developed before 5 years of age!( astonishing right?) Studying child development in college was so amazing to me, however, that single piece of information has always been a highlight of everything I studied, and doesn't cease to amaze me.
Brekkon often finishes sentences of mine when I am struggling for a word, when communicating with Matt on our daily adventures.  Tukker consistently reminds me of where different objects are located throughout our home. Brekkon counts to 87 and Tukker knows a song with the name of 26 countries in it(Just to name a  few of the things that make us drop our jaws). I am pretty sure they are going to out smart me a lot sooner than I was hoping and anticipating.  
They have recently been extremely interested in the culture of Japan, which started a couple of weeks ago at the Children's Museum when they were making Japanese lanterns in the toddler area.  I always try to bring relevance to the activity(rather than just do the craft itself).  As they were making it, I began to show them pictures online and in a book there of the lighted lanterns on the streets, festivals, and teach them a couple of Japanese words.  Brekkon says, "Konnichiwa" now to everyone in place of hello.  Its a little strange and funny but I figure every two year old is strange and funny... right?  They were so fascinated with the lanterns, words, and just the different world of Japan we made masks and art scrolls too. I think we will have a festival in the house when they wake up!
No matter what it is, be conifers, nocturnal animals, farm animals, marsupials, or how gas gets to the engine from the gas pedal(I had to consult my husband on that one), if they are excited about it, I might as well capitalize on it until the excitement runs out and they choose another avenue to broaden their intellect.  Kids have so many more neurons actively creating new connections than we as adults could ever hope to have.  It's fun to watch their minds at play! 


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Money-It's a Gas

Last week my husband and I chose to start an allowance system for Tukker.  I would have never dreamed we would be starting this so early actually, however he was already doing three of the chores we gave him just because he wanted to help.  So starting to pay him seemed natural and fair.  After all it would be nice if he continued to enjoy helping and money(plus a sticker chart) seems to be a pretty good motivator. These are the chores we had him do:

  • TRASH: he brings all the little trash cans downstairs the night before trash day and rolls in the empty ones from the curb.  I am hoping this will one day deter his desire to be a trash man when he grows up!
  •  LAUNDRY: he puts away his and Brekkon's folded clothes once a week, like socks, underwear and pajamas
  • DISHES: As I am unloading, Tukker is responsible for unloading his dishes and his silverware and putting them away.  We keep all of the boys dishes and cups in a big drawer down low so they can get their plates out at meal time, get their own drink of water and put dishes away.  Its a genius idea, but not mine, to build independence.
  • TOILETS:  This is the one we added, he uses a Clorox wipe to clean the lid, seat and rim.  When I told him about this one, he put his hands over his heart, gasped dramatically, and said, "The inside too?!!!" I still do the  inside, however this is an attempt to correct aim on his part.  The free little fast paced spirit of a child misses...a lot.

There are absolutely things that he has to do in which he doesn't get paid, like brushing his teeth so they don't rot, making his bed to teach orderliness, and getting dressed so we don't get arrested.  We believe there should be a balance and are striving for that.  

We changed the plan somewhat about half way through the week after going to our weekly Financial Peace University(by Dave Ramsey) that our church is offering for free. One of the two topics was money with kids! Gods timing is always perfect! We are now calling it a commission rather than allowance, suggesting more that you are not just allowed the money but earn it, just like everybody else.  Another change we made was to give him a dollar for each chore rather than a dollar total.  You can't enjoy money very much at a dollar a week even as a four year old, plus he will be pulling a dollar out a month to give, and a dollar to save.  After he gets a little older we will change the system, but it needs to be simple for young children.  Another tool we are using is to use a clear container and crumpling up the money, visuals are a must for really young ones. We crumple it up because it looks like more than just money laying flat, and visually grows faster.

It is so funny how you can tell what kind of natural spenders they would be, at this early age.  Tukker, the free spirit, has already told us, he is going to spend all of his money(even when we talk about him saving for a car).  Brekkon, the thinker, tells us he is going to save it all and buy a really cool car like Lightning McQueen (he isn't even earning commission yet)!  The end goal is to get them to a smart place somewhere in between the two.