Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Reading Programs Rock!

Nicholas always participates in the summer reading programs at the library. He has gotten all kinds of prizes like free tickets to the circus and Texas Rangers game, free ice cream, free kids meals at Chick-Fil-A, Jason's Deli, Joe's Crab Shack, and Whataburger, plus toys, and even books.

This year Nicholas also participated in the summer reading program at Half Price Books. There program is especially cool. Each week the child turns in their reading log for a $3.00 gift card to use in the store. This is super cool since the books are already at half price and there are so many great books and DVDs to choose from. Nicholas used his most recent gift card to buy a bug kit called Backyard Bugs. He was excited to see that there was a book and some plastic bugs. But when he picked up the book there were more bugs and goodies hidden underneath. The kit comes with an awesome set of 12 realistic looking bugs that Nicholas absolutely loves. Seriously, he has been taking them everywhere, even to bed! The cicada is definitely his favorite. The kit also has a wonderful book that talks about the bugs as well as a great colorful poster and set of stickers. Nicholas is very proud of this find because he LOVES bugs!



He put a giant butterfly sticker on my shirt and the rest he put on his shirt and...his legs? He likes to pretend to scare me so I have to say, "Oh, Nicholas! There are bugs crawling up your legs! Ahhhhhh!" Silly boy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rachel Can Pull Herself Up to Sit!

Today we were all in the bedroom playing. Rachel was crawling all around the room exploring on her own while the rest of us were just hanging out talking about plans for the day. Then I glanced over at Rachel and saw this...



She was in a sitting position! No one in the room saw her get into a sitting position but certainly no one helped her do it. Wow! That's new. At first I wondered if I would get to see her do it again soon or if it was just luck that she had gotten herself up like that. But she has continued to do it over and over again without struggle.

I caught a quick video her sitting up before she tried to attack the video camera.



Of course, she was just had to sit up in her crib at naptime too, just to show me that she could. Her crib mattress is still in the highest position which is great for a newborn baby that can't go anywhere. But now that she is getting around so well and sitting up so easily, she could potentially pull herself up and over the crib railing. So we'll be lowering the crib mattress tonight before bedtime!

Rachel has also done other new things today. She has discovered how to take off her bib when I'm feeding her. She especially likes to do this AFTER it is covered in baby food so it now gets smeared all over.

She has also started drinking from a sippy cup! HOORAY! Yesterday I made a trip to Babies R Us and I studied every sippy cup there to try to find one that would be most like her usual way of getting milk. Success!

It's been a busy day for the little princess. Lots of learning and lots of little accomplishments all the time. It's such a wonderfully fun process to witness and be a part of!

Rainbows

We woke up to a rainy day. From what I've heard it will probably be rainy most of the week. We like playing in the rain but sunshine is definitely more fun. We decided to talk about rainbows in hopes that the rain would go away soon.

We talked about the color of light. Is it really white? No, light is made up of wavelengths of colored light, specifically 7 colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet - the same colors seen in a rainbow. Nicholas was having a hard time remembering the colors so I started writing out "ROYGBIV" on a sheet of paper to show him a trick to remembering them. I was about half way through writing this and he asked, "Why are you writing the first letter of each color?" I was surprised that he had caught that. We talked about how to use this to help him figure out the colors in order. I didn't think it would really help him but I wanted to at least introduce it to him so it would be familiar to him. However, he did use it later to help him recall the colors in order.





We talked about what is needed in order to see a rainbow - light and something like water or a prism to separate the colors. After a storm, the sun comes out while there are still raindrops in the sky. The raindrops reflect the sunlight and separate the individual colors. Since the rain drops are curved, the rainbow appears curved in the sky.

We used a flashlight and a prism to reflect the light on a white piece of paper so we could see all 7 colors in light. Then we each made our own simple rainbows with styrofoam, pipe cleaners, and craft beads. I tried to neatly lay out all of our supplies but that didn't last long. How can a 5 year old possibly resist not sticking pipe cleaners into styrofoam?



The project was super easy and we had fun. I cut each pipe cleaner in half and we each arranged the pipe cleaners in order of the rainbow. Then we each counted out 10 craft beads in each color, strung them on the coordinating pipe cleaners and slid them into the styrofoam.





I love projects like this that work the fine motor skills in his fingers. Great exercises for developing better writing skills.





Well, it's still drizzly outside with no rainbows in sight. I think we'll just make the best of it and go splash in some puddles!

Rachel Waves To Her Adoring Fans

Rachel has been able to wave and clap for a few weeks but I just now got it on video. Also on this clip is Rachel banging on her high chair with part of a plastic measuring scoop. It's so neat that she likes to bang quietly for a moment then she bangs as hard as she can - and she gets so excited about it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Forgotten Frustrations

I had forgotten how frustrating it can be to try to teach what seems like a most basic concept to a baby who has no idea what you are trying to get her to do. For instance, drinking out of a cup of any kind. You may recall that we had trouble getting Rachel to drink from a bottle since she is so used to breastfeeding. Well, now we are running into the same problem with a sippy cup. She just chews on the spout and plays with the cup but rarely gets any liquid. She ends up getting frustrated, right alongside Mommy. She has been able to drink from a straw cup one time so I thought I would try that idea again. It didn't work and she just ended up chewing on the straw and playing with it. Finally I gave up and just let her play in the spilled water that was all over her high chair by the time we were done.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Photo Walk for the Little Guy

I had to run over to Bass Pro Shop this afternoon. Nicholas wanted to bring his camera with him so he could get some pictures that might look like "Man vs. Wild" (one of his favorite TV shows on the Discovery channel). We were at Bass Pro quite a while but had a great time. Nicholas asked me to make a slide show of his pictures. Be warned - I think there are 50 pictures here. There are a few that I took of him eating a Moon Pie while we played checkers on the porch but all the rest are his.

Friday, July 24, 2009

One Day, Two Lakes

We are pooped but happy! What a fun day it has been. We spent the morning with our friends out on Eagle Mountain Lake. Nicholas had a BLAST and can't stop talking about it!

Nicholas got to ride on a jet ski for the first time ever. They went really fast and really far out into the lake (Mommy was a little worried). But Nicholas loved it and had so much fun. He even got to steer it!



Then they hooked up this inflatable and the boys got towed around the lake by the jet ski. What fun!





I was worried about how Rachel would do out in the sun for so long but she did great. She enjoyed playing with a shell and terrorizing a ladybug.





Thank you Mrs. Heather for convincing me to take the jet ski out for a ride and for watching Rachel for me. I haven't driven a jet ski in years and it was such a rush!



Nicholas had such a great time that he didn't want to leave. No, really. He wouldn't leave. I had to call his name many, many times in my "You-are-about-to-get-in-trouble" Mommy voice but he finally got out of the water. That little fish!



We stopped at Sonic on the way home and got slushes. We all got cleaned up and took long naps. Then we were up again and headed out to Grapevine Lake with the Mundts and their three girls for a ride on their boat, Pepperspray.





We brought along some Quizno's subs and had dinner on the boat. What a nice way to have dinner - at sunset on the lake with friends. Nicholas brought his camera and took tons of pictures.











After dinner, we broke out some water guns and squirted each other to cool off.









Even Rachel had a good time feeling the water splash and the wind on her face.










It's was a wonderfully fun day - made great by spending it with dear friends.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Little Photo Walk for the Little Guy



We went out this morning to run some errands and Nicholas brought his camera with him. I asked him what he wanted to take a picture of. He said, "I don't know. Let's just go find a place to take pictures." I couldn't help but smile because I knew he was wanting to have his own little photo walk like Stuart and I had just done.

We ran our errands and I found a little pasture with some horses in it. Nicholas was very excited to have such a cool subject to photograph. He said, "Let's go home and put these pictures on the blog!" So here are a few of Nicholas' pictures from his impromptu photo walk.








He took this picuture below and said, "Yes! I got a picture of the horse's butt!"



More pictures taken today...









I'm so exctied that he enjoys taking pictures as much as he does. He has learned quite a few things just by overhearing Stuart and I talk about photography. He has a great little camera made by Fisher Price. It's easy to use and it's drop-proof! However, Nicholas has decided that he needs a camera that zooms and he needs a tripod. So cute!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crawl-A-Rama

We had a little crawl-a-rama in our house today. Nicholas decided that he wanted to crawl around with Rachel. They were so cute together. They crawled side-by-side through the living room and the kitchen. They chased each other around the kitchen island. I love watching them play together like this!

I tried to get video of it but had to keep stopping because the phone rang, mailman rang the door bell, Rachel found a piece of cereal (aka choking hazard) on the floor, someone banged their head and needed a kiss, etc. So of course I don't have the best video of our first crawl-a-rama but I know the grandparents don't care how choppy it is.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Few Of His Favorite Things

Nicholas has loved his Rescue Hero toys for several years now. Rescue Heroes are big guys that are firefighters, scuba divers, pilots, etc. that can swoop in and rescue people. Nicholas has a bunch of these guys and a few of their vehicles. Most of them were gently loved before he ever got them. Some came from freecycle but most came from various children's consignment stores. He plays with them all the time and carries them with him for rides in the car and even takes them into the grocery store with us. He asked Stuart to take some pictures of two of his Rescue Heroes for him.







At some point, the makers of Rescue Heroes decided that they hadn't completely tapped the market and they branched off to create Planet Heroes. Of course, he had to get those too. This picture was taken a while back but here he built a hanger for his Planet Hero ships out of his beloved Tinker Toys.





Rescue Heroes, Planet Heroes, Tinker Toys, and also Legos...just a few of his favorite things. He plays with at least one of these toys every single day.