Monday, January 26, 2009

Ains count!

Hide and go seek is a favorite game around here these days. Hours on end, which is surprising given the age of the younger player. The other day I hid behind the laundry pile and Hannah couldn't find me. I need to work on that pile, maybe. Anyway, the pattern is predictable - a parent counts and seeks, then Hannah counts and seeks, and then Ainsley declares that it's her turn.

"Ains count!" and she throws herself up against a wall with her arms over her eyes. "One, two, three, four, eight, sixteen, COME!!!!" And then she runs to find. If she finds you in the first thirty seconds, you're good. If not, you'd better come out because it's likely she's found an intriguing toy, or decided to cook in her kitchen, or has inexplicably decided that hiding is more fun.

"Barack Obama said peace."

Hannah watched the inauguration with me and, while she thought Rick Warren's prayer was 'silly' (I'll say that I agreed with her. In fact I muted the man after about twenty seconds of his shouting and gesticulating.), and she colored through most of the part we watched, she listened more carefully than I thought to Obama's speech. And I didn't think she listened at all - she is, after all, four years old.

Since that day, I have heard "Barack Obama said peace" more times than I care to remember. No raised voices allowed around her. When we were in the car today, she was very quiet so I asked if she was asleep. "No, Mother. I'm fustated with Ainser but Barack Obama said peace so I'm breathing like you do when you get fustated." Okay, then. When she and Ains were playing in the bathtub last night and Ains got upset with Hannah for taking her starfish, Hannah jumped in with "Barack Obama said peace, Ains. Be peace." Ains thought she'd be peace just fine when Hannah gave back her starfish, thank you very much.

I *am* wondering what else Hannah picked up out of that speech that I didn't even think she was listening to...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bubble art.

Ainsley loves to blow bubbles in juice, water, chocolate milk, shakes, any liquid placed in front of her with a straw. So today we encouraged it with bubble art.

Put a little bit of water in a bowl with some dish detergent and food coloring.

Edit: We have discovered that if you use a small amount of tempera paint instead of food coloring, the art is more vibrant. Stir the paint in before you blow bubbles. I wouldn't do it with little ones though - I didn't try it with Ains because when we did the food coloring version, she sucked up one time and got a mouthful. Ick.



Using a straw, blow into the water, making bubbles come up over the edge of the bowl.



Gently lay a piece of paper on the bubbles.



If 'gently' isn't your style, by all means go with what feels good to you.



We got some very pretty pictures.







This one looked like a microscope slide of plant cells to me. I wish you could see it better - it's very faint even when it's in-hand.



In the first picture, you can see that Hannah's putting the food coloring on top of bubbles she'd already blown. She got some really interesting pictures that way.



This used a lot of food coloring and you don't want very much water in the bowl or the food coloring gets too diluted and the bubbles aren't colored. Yellow doesn't work very well with this project.

Snapshot Sunday













Stuff about the Duffs is back. Cool elephants.

Here's Pam, joining us for the first time!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Ladybug Game

Have you seen this game?



It's a very cool game, made by a kid, for kids.

A child doesn't have to know how to read numbers to play this game, so it can be played by the very young.

It's a bit odd that as you gather up the aphids to eat them, they're grinning happily. Maybe aphids don't care. I dunno.

It's an easy game to make into a cooperative game, as everyone can pool their aphids to help those get home that don't have enough.

And when you're two and you lose interest in the minimal strategy of the game, the cute illustrations and playing pieces make for a fun storyboard to play around on.

We've had it since Hannah was two and she's loved it. It's definitely worth owning, this one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Camouflage.

You know in some movies, how either good guys or bad guys can sneak up on people by disguising themselves as a stationary item that just slowly moves? Like a tree or a bush that starts out in one place, far away from you, but every time you turn around it's just a teensy bit closer. That happens to us a lot here.

It's usually something like a blanket that's completely inconspicuous on a beanbag.



But then you walk into the other room, and you turn around to see that the blanket has somehow made it to the refrigerator.



No harm done. It's out of the way there. But then, when you're not looking, the blanket sneaks farther into the kitchen until it's underfoot.



And no matter how many times you pick up and move the (hysterically giggling) blanket...



It always ends up back at your feet.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Today we...

Made kaleidoscopes. Very cool. Thanks Katey!

Made money. Very Useful Money.



Spelled names. This never stops around here these days.



Played Poisson Rouge (Red Fish). Discovered new games added to Peep. Decorated cakes in Ponyville.

Discovered seals.



Hilarious creatures that they are. Apparently.



Played in magazines.



Played in beanbags.



Did yoga.

Cooked in the little kitchen.

Read books.



Played with sticker books.



Played with ponies.

Marked days off on the calendar.

And to make Gray feel included here - nursed, nursed, giggled, pulled hair, nursed, nursed, slept, nursed, teased sisters, cuddled with sisters, and nursed.

Made banana pops. Discovered Mother's huge stash of popsicle sticks when looking for sticks for banana pops. Made popsicle stick art.








Changed clothes a minimum of seven times throughout the day.

Made chocolate muffins.

Dressed up and danced the night away.

Took a bath to get banana out of hair.

Fell asleep. Wonderful.

OLM-inspired post. To make me notice the Magic.

Do you see his face?



We're all healed up but him. The girls are watching Strawberry Shortcake. He's too sick to escape. Heh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

-Langston Hughes

Whether you're sad and scared, joyful and hopeful, or a little bit of both today, this is a milestone that needed to be reached before real healing from a shameful era could begin. What a day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sickies are here.

Three children vomiting, one of them with impressive projectile distance and force stats. All night long, lots of blankets in a pile on the floor this morning to be washed.

Today was recovery and rice for little bodies. Daddy was sick at work and is now passed out in bed while I'm trying to convince three kids that they are *not* in the throes of a second wind and that they really do want to go to bed so that a Mother who is now feeling sick can vomit in peace. I'm having no luck - with either.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snapshot Sunday












Here's Steph. Lots of painting today. Plaid, no less - so ambitious!

Stuff About the Duffs joined us this week! I love her blog and was so thrilled to see her comment saying she was in this week. If you compare her household's snapshots to mine you can see a definite gender difference.

If you're participating, leave a comment and I'll add a link to your post!

Friday, January 16, 2009

He's been initiated.

Remember this post?

Grayson has joined the ranks of happy ice cream eaters.



Grayson is almost eleven months old and not walking yet. Why is this important? It's not. It's just so unexpected and ... and lovely. Ainsley was walking at nine months old and Hannah at ten months old. Grayson has experimented a few times with standing while not holding onto anything. He crawls like a fiend, he's just not motivated to move his motion upwardly yet. Why mention this right now? Because we're going to visit cousins for the weekend and one of the cousins is a month older than Grayson and walking. And you know how kids always learn new skills while around new children. *sigh* What are my chances of keeping Gray from seeing his cousin all weekend? Yeah, that's what I thought.

In "maybe he can't walk, but look what he can do" news - I caught him playing with this stick and circle the other day. Non-stop for over fifteen minutes. Put the stick through the circle, tip it back, dump it off, start over.



It was actually pretty impressive to me to see a baby his age be so engrossed in doing that and be able to control the stick so well from the end instead of from the middle. Neither of his sisters were interested in fine motor skills at that age. Hannah was only interested in people and Ains was very interested in throwable and bangable toys.



I even took a two minute video of him doing this. Why would I take a two minute video of an infant doing this? Because two minutes is all my camera had on it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snippets.

"Mother, to get past me, you have to answer a riddle."

OK. Shoot.

"I'm white and I have feathers and a beak. I swim in ponds and try to eat frogs and fish. I lay eggs and when one of my eggs hatched a baby swan I was really mean to it, but boy was I embarrassed when it turned out to be prettier than any of my babies. I'm a duck and I quack and I fly.

What am I?"

Um, a duck?

"You're a brilliant mother! You can pass!"

Two feet farther forward...

"To get past me you have to answer a riddle."


----------

Ainsley got a 'Tatt. Too.' of an orange orchid. We put it on her arm. She admired it for hours and then went to bed. At two am I was woken up by a blood-curdling scream. Her tatt-too was gone. Vanished. Nowhere to be seen. And she was distraught about it.

Out to the hallway where I can turn on the light and show her that it is still very much there.

"Oh, GOOD, Momma! Tawt pyahts took it."

No, sweetie. Pirates didn't take it.

That baku needs to work a double shift on both girls or we need another baku. Preferably a pirate-eating baku.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What?

We played Harvest Time. We didn't get the vegetables harvested before winter hit. "Oh NO! We're doomed!!!" says my little girl.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Baku came.

Bakus are legendary creatures who eat nightmares. They are rather intimidating looking themselves, having the head of an elephant, the mane of a lion, feet like a tiger's and the tail of a cow. OK, the cow tail isn't that intimidating - but a maned elephant head? Whoa.

Last year, we learned about bakus (bah-koo) first in Legendary Creatures of Myth and Magic, one of Hannah's Christmas presents.



That imagery of a monster who was powerful enough to eat her nightmares was really intriguing to Hannah. I played with ideas of embroidering the symbol for 'baku' or a picture of a baku on a pillowcase for her. I've never embroidered. It never got done.

We ran across it again last month in a new book, Magical Creatures.



Last night, my little girl - who, due to an amazing imagination, has been troubled by nightmares for a long time - decided to take matters into her own hands and drew herself a baku. Its trunk blends in with its mane, but she was very deliberate in her work, constantly checking back with the illustrations - completely self-motivated. It was a sight to see.



This is a child whose only recognizable drawing around Thanksgiving was a flower. She's been a drawing fiend since spending time drawing with a young cousin of hers who is really talented at drawing.

We stuck it on the wall above the bed and this morning she walked out of the bedroom with a big smile on her face. "I had a nightmare last night, Mother, and GUESS WHAT?!?! The baku ate it!"

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

In searching Amazon for links to the books we have, we came across some books we want. Like this one, and this one, and this one (just for Mother). And many more books to add to our library list.

We also came across a neat video that shows an old baku statue. And, believe it or not, a game with a little baku (also the Japanese word for 'tapir') eating dreams. Whodathunk?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

Coming in just under the wire today...

again...












Here's Steph.

If you're participating, leave a comment and I'll add a link to your post!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Is that what I sound like?

That was the first thought in my head when Hannah said to me "Do I look like I can help you?"

Oh my. Scratch that from my arsenal. Stat.

About Fantasia. And YouTube. But mostly Fantasia.

Did you watch Fantasia as a child? I loved it - most of it. Night On Bald Mountain scared the crap out of me, the Sorcerer's Apprentice was lame even to my five-year old self, and a few were just plain boring.

But the centaurs? And the fairies? And the unicorns and satyrs and dancing flowers and the pegasus'? Oh my. That was bliss for my five-year old self.

So when Matt came across The Sorcerer's Apprentice on YouTube the other day when he was trying to find Lambert the Sheepish Lion for the girls, and it scared Hannah, I went looking for the fun, magical ones.

I found three and five minute segments here and there that showed centaurs, pegasus, and dancing fairies. I also found plenty of very edited Fantasia scenes that should have had 'rated R' posted by the title. There's a reason my kids can't go cruising around YouTube on their own, even when watching 'safe' videos like Fantasia, My Little Pony, Veggie Tales...

But this is what I wanted to show you. A Fantasia that I'd never seen. Embedding isn't allowed on this video, so you'll have to follow the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPKpFNm3QMM

Um... you might not want to watch this with your kids if you don't want to have to explain racism to them quite yet. White people have that privilege - to be able to choose when to discuss racism.

I wasn't sure if it was some fantastic editing or video-shopping (is that a term?). I'm hopelessly behind on stuff like that. Disney officially denies it. Others are calling Disney out on it. But when I was watching it, I was really shocked. Dude, that is so wrong!

Anyway, Matt took Hannah to rent Fantasia (and also Fantasia 2000, which I'd never seen) so that they could watch their favorite ones in their entirety. You know. Their edited entirety.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Momma, pay wi' me?"

The other night, Matt took Hannah 'to town' to rent Fantasia - that's a post all by itself. Ains wanted to go, but wanted even more to play with her ponies. And Gray wasn't going anywhere I wasn't going. So Hannah got some much-needed daddy time and I got some much-needed-though-I-didn't-know-it Ainsley time. With Grayson smiling beside us.

These are Ainsley's ponies. Hannah's are mixed in there too, but we weren't worried about that. Ralphie's also there, in the back. That palomino horse has been the source of many tears in our house. It is technically Hannah's, but she's not so interested in it until she sees her sister playing with it. It is not technically Ainsley's, but she has adopted it, named it Ralphie, and cares for it lovingly until her sister gets in a snit about it. It's a sad situation for all involved - including poor Ralphie.



When Ains had momma all alone, the playing began. The girls got these ponies in an advent calendar. They came with many tiny shoes, treats, and some clothes. Amazingly, all shoes are still accounted for.



I love this - somehow it snapped right when the shoe flipped off the pony's foot.

If you look at the first picture, you'll see that Ains is having a chicken talk to her ponies. That chicken spent a lot of time with a pony's shoe on its head.

We spent an hour and a half - it's a long way to town and back - playing with the ponies.



Ains was blissfully happy.



We even set up a pony choral group. Apparently the only song they knew was "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", but I'm not judging.



Heaven help any pony that fell from the edge of the table. They didn't stand a chance.



Luckily, Ains thought that that was hilarious and even, in a bad pony momma moment, tried to feed a few more to him.

Look at this. How can you resist that?

Remember a year ago when every third post included pictures of Hannah making waffles? We're in the same loop now, but this time it's pictures of Grayson smiling up from holding onto my legs.