Friday, February 27, 2009

How do you know Daddy doesn't do laundry often?

The answer to that is the same answer to "Why is there a basket of children's underwear and socks that Daddy has to sort through and put away?"

Because he thought that getting two girls, size 3T and 4T, the same exact underwear would be a good idea.

24 princess and butterfly underwear, one size apart, ready to be sorted. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Artists are fancy.

Wow, Hannah, that's a fancy horse you've got there.

H: (matter-of-factly) Well, yes. He's an artist.

Oh. Are artists fancy?

H: (very patiently) I don't know, Mother. I've never met an artist. (after a pause) But I'm fancy, and I'm an artist, so I think artists are fancy. And he's a very good artist so he's very fancy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The library...

One of my favorite places.

Since we have to travel a ways to get to the library we have cards at, it's an exciting trip for the girls also.

And if we're really lucky, we can meet cousins there and the kids can hide under the table and read to each other while the moms chat.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Snapshot Sunday.

Sorry 'bout that. Between computer issues and camera issues, it didn't happen. On to happier subjects --- Dumping Daddy.

This game wouldn't have been possible if Mother hadn't pulled out the hide-a-bed to look for A Very Small Thing that she needed. Or if Father hadn't said "Just leave it out. The girls are having fun on it. We'll lay a blanket on it to eat dinner."

It also wouldn't have been possible if Father had chosen anywhere but right up against the couch to lay on the hide-a-bed while his daughters sat on the edge to better watch their movie.

Nobody even realized this game was a possibility until Hannah and Ainsley both saw something that each one of them absolutely had to have and jumped off the bed at the same time to go get it. I didn't hear their screams at each other because they were drowned out by their father yelling as he got dumped right back into the couch and all of their dinner (spaghetti and white sauce, no less) landed on top of him. I didn't laugh. Much.

After we got him cleaned up, the girls wanted to play this fun game again. So they dumped him.

Then climbed to the top to 'save him'.

After their weight had pulled him back up, they climbed to the top again.

It was a treacherous climb at times.

But you learn the most from your mistakes, don't you find? She learned that it was more fun for her to climb to the top and slide down.

They played for a long time.

Their father was exhausted. Even better, they were exhausted.

Tired enough that a game of dominoes was appealing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

H: Look, Ains, I stuck my stickers on the board like this.
A: Oh, aMAZing, Hannah!

H: Ains, don't stick your stickers on like that.
A: Yes, boss.
H: I'm not your boss.
A: OK, boss.

Valentines and potatoes.

Having trouble keeping up online these days, but I wanted to share these.

Almost two weeks ago now (gulp) we made valentines. I cut out hundreds of valentines (my scissors had to be sharpened) and set out glue sticks. It was a mad house and the two girls created the cutest valentines.

At first Ainsley's had more glue than hearts, but then she realized that it wouldn't stick to her if she covered the glue completely with hearts. And you wondered why I needed to cut out hundreds. (Or, if you're a mom, you didn't wonder for even a second.)

Then labeling the hearts.

After I made a heart flower for Hannah, both girls tried it out. Hannah made one and Ainsley went crazy making them. We have at least ten taped on our bedroom walls.

This one didn't make it to the wall.

A few days after that, we went to a library story time where they let the girls make foam hearts. Hannah made hers "extra bumpy because I'm going to give this one to Grandpa Rex and he needs to feel how much I love him". Grandpa Rex can't see very well.

It was an extra bumpy heart, so it needed a special envelope. She wrote his name on it herself and even wrote "I love you I love you" above his name. She'd just learned that "I (heart) you" means "I love you", so she wrote that. In a manner of speaking writing.

A few days later when I had scrap pieces of rope from making a baby hammock, they wanted to use them to make yet more valentines.

And valentine necklaces, of course.

Then Daddy sent them flowers for the day itself.

Love Day, indeed.

And this is what happens when you're taking pictures and Daddy walks in the door.

Random pictures, but they make me smile... While doing laundry, I heard a thumping noise. When I came out to investigate, I found this -

She was teaching Grayson how to throw potatoes down the hallway. He was a quick study.

Ignore all the buckets. I was organizing food storage.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We call him Hansel.

He would never get lost in the woods if he had a candy trail to follow. (Hannah had just had Hansel and Gretel read to her and was worried about him not finding his way to the living room. She was amenable when I suggested using crackers next time.)

Also, I've added links to Snapshot Sunday participators on that post, but didn't want you guys to miss them - all of them made me smile this week. Great photos.

Sunnymama and Joxy have joined us this week!

Steph's up also!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

How it began.

Duffs are up!

Sunnymama and Joxy (her first picture made me laugh out loud) have joined us today!

Steph's up also!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The best way to clean a house.

Look for something very small that you need *right now*. Decluttering with a large trash can beside you springs spontaneously from this.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little things...

about the little ones.

Why is it that when you are trying to buckle in an infant that should be easy to physically manipulate, you can't get their arm in the second shoulder strap without them slipping out of the first? Yet when you go to unbuckle them, you can't get their arm out of the second strap without their other arm going back into the first strap? I don't understand.

Note to my two year old: When you are two rooms away from the bathroom and you realize that you urgently need to go potty, you'll get there faster if you leave your pants up, run to the bathroom and *then* pull your pants down. Pulling them down and then waddling at top speed takes a tad longer. Not that you're not hilariously cute when you do it, I'm just trying to help out.

Bats bats bats

Hannah was flipping through one of our encyclopedias a month or so ago and came across the entry for bats. She asked me to read some of it to her. We learned about echolocation and for the next three days our house was filled with screeching echolocation. I tried explaining to her that we humans actually couldn't hear most bats' calls because they were too 'high', but that just made her echolocate at a higher pitch.

Our next trip to the library saw me getting several bat books for her (including this one that will be the jumping off point for a whole 'nother post) and several for me so that I could answer more of her questions. Word of warning - don't go learning to much about bats. You'll lose all fear of them and want to get actively involved in saving them.

One of Hannah's books had this picture in it -

I still can't look at that picture without giggling. He makes me happy. His cheeks are full of fruit.

And check out this artwork Hannah did while in the throes of bat love.

It's a picture of two bats.

The tape is the flowers that they're about to land on to eat.

Little circles of tape. 3-D art. How 'bout that.

For more on bats check out Bat Conservation International.

These books were ones that I got that I really enjoyed:
The Moon by Whale Light (in which I also learn about how very ancient crocodiles are)
Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind (in which I learn that opossums don't pretend to be dead when they're scared, they actually get so scared that their body goes in to a trance like state - a bit like fainting goats)
Darkwing - a novel by Kenneth Oppel about the first bats, way back when dinosaurs were dying off - very well written

I can't recommend any of the 'kids bat books' that we got for Hannah because they were all pretty bland and generic, nothing that really grabbed her and fascinated her as much as the encyclopedia entry had.

Would you?

Breastfeed someone else's child?

I would. I totally would. In fact, I have. Wouldn't have seen me doing that ten years ago.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Independent play.

Stepping back and allowing independent play without adult guidance can lead to some really fun discoveries. In this case, I walked in to find Ains making a track out of the animal dominoes for her animals to walk on. Totally engrossed, she was. I don't think she even noticed me there with the camera.

I am not obsessed with chubby toddler hands. Don't say that. But just look at how cute they are!


The letter obsession continues. 'Hannah' is being written everywhere. She knows the first letter of everyone's name and uses the initial to address letters and pictures.

I made her a 'letter book' for her to take with her wherever she needs to - it's amazing where you need a letter book, you know. I used these - printed out from the PDF page, four to a sheet of cardstock, cut apart, and tied together with a ribbon. It's cute and very useful.

I also made her a letter poster for our living room for when she didn't have time to flip through the letter book. This was becoming an issue. The poster works well. It's also fun for her to grill her sister. ("Do you see a xylophone Ainser? A xylophone? Good job! Do you see a nightgown Ains?" - especially hilarious since I can't remember the last time we talked to her like that.)

Now that the girls have their own computer, Hannah likes to have me put up the 'letter page' (word processing program) and she types away. Recipes, letters, books, shopping lists, notes, and letter practice. Letter practice is something she made up. First, she types in a letter, with her sister looking on.

Then they both go over to look for that letter on the poster.

It really doesn't get much cuter than that.

Then after they find it...

they have to go back to the computer and start the process over again.

Ignore Ainser's hair. I can't do anything with it.

Sugar Shacks

Mid-January we made sugar shacks.

When I was growing up, my mom would have us make graham cracker houses in February around Valentine's Day instead of in December. We used lots of red and white and pink candy. It was the only time of year that we were allowed free access to candy - don't even ask about Halloween. BUT the free access only lasted for the few hours that it took to do the houses and then the extra candy was taken away and we were only allowed to eat the candy on our houses.

I was smart. I made a garden and frosting trees stuck through with candy and fences and gates and chimneys and so much candy decorating the house that I would have candy for at least a week. Heh.

But somehow my brothers, who did all the smart things I did and ate through their candy twice as fast always had candy long after I did. It wasn't until I was eight years old that I caught on to what they were doing. They were making their house walls, filling them up with candy, and then putting a second story of graham crackers on to hide their first floor so my mom wouldn't confiscate it.

So this was a tradition I really wanted to carry on. For obvious reasons. Heh.

Problem was, my family has tons of traditions (mostly centered around Christmas, but still...) and my husband's family has, well, one - at least only one that my husband or any of his siblings that I've grilled can think of - and that tradition is graham cracker houses at Christmas time. It's really not exciting to do graham cracker houses twice a year. So I was stuck. I didn't want to give up my cool, fun, sugar-memory-laden tradition, but I wasn't about to throw my husband's one solitary tradition out in favor of mine.

Then I saw Steph's sugar shacks and thought we'd give it a try. It's a perfect replacement and it has the added benefit of being a perfect craft for tiny, chubby two year old hands. They can handle and manipulate those sugar cubes so much easier than graham crackers. Ains actually worked really hard putting her cubes just where she wanted and building her walls.

She had little interest in her roof, so as I made her roof and Hannah's roof, Hannah decorated them...

though she ended up not needing a roof herself since her shack ended up being all garden and tree.

I've learned that the best way for me to keep my interpretations, 'helpful suggestions', and controlling tendencies out of their creative processes is to do my own project to the side of theirs and only help them when asked. I did an igloo to the side. It was a really simple one with not much embellishment until the next day when Hannah and Ains got out their watercolors and went to town on it - I thought you'd like this, Steph.

Pretty cool, huh? And I would have never thought of doing that.