Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rapping myself on track

I woke up this morning and remembered that we do not have gymnastics today. I thought out loud to myself, "man I need to make a schedule to get back on track. All this gymnastics has us out of whack." I really said that, lol. For a minute I thought I should rap a blog post, but no worries, I won't.

So we have gone from being a free living, no schedule, unschooling type of family to a family with, between the two girls, gymnastics 4 days a week. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying that now I find myself having to plan a little bit...for myself. Otherwise, I fear we may do nothing else and this blog will turn into a gymnastics blog. And seeing that only 2 people commented on my post about gymnastics, I assume that would be quite boring.

The last few days I've been setting out a table with markers and paper, or cleaning the floor and giving the girls a certain toy to play with. I never had to do these things before. They just found the markers and toys themselves. But lately, especially Eaden, cartwheels, handstands, and rolls rule the day. So today, I decided to try something a little different. Maybe a little Montessori. I put something out for the kids to play with one at a time (sometimes they each had their own thing). When they were ready to move on, we cleaned up and moved on. 

The whole thing was a little tiresome for me, but I will say that the kids had a great day and the house is very clean. Also, Eaden hardly mentioned gymnastics. It's not that I'm trying to get her to forget about gymnastics (that's not going to happen anyway), but I just want to make sure she is...well rounded? I guess I'm also hoping that by guiding them a little...on Tuesdays say...they will play better by themselves on other days...

 We started the day with markers. My cousin Allison cleaned out some closet recently (she's in college now) and came up with a bunch of arts and crafts supplies to give to us. A hole puncher too!

 After a while, I added scissors and glue (trying to draw things out a bit and hold their attention).

 Next, I dug out these building toys they received for Christmas (but which I had not yet let them play with).

 Naia and Taven found them a little difficult and so I took out cars and Octons.

This held their attention for a good amount of time and so I cleaned the fridge!

 Please don't call CPS. I swear we're not starving. I let the kids eat whenever they want and get the food themselves. I wonder which one of my genius children tried to eat this sausage. (Quick edit) A friend of mine just commented on facebook asking if I was starving my children (referring to sausage pic). Maybe this just makes the empty fridge pic look even worse. My poor children.

At some point, we were all ready to get outside. I'd say they look ready, wouldn't you?

I let the kids get out the play-doh and I organized garage stuff. I recently acquired this shelf from a friend (as well as that bike Taven was riding). Hand me down Queen I am!

 We decided to paint as well.

 It was glitter mania!

I told Eaden the person in the picture had the same exact hair as she did, with braids sticking up everywhere.

 When Eaden and Taven decided to go in and eat, Naia stayed outside.

I found these math whatchamacallits I had bought at The Homeschool Store a while back, but never used. I also have one we used to learn about calendars. I found everything very easy to explain to Eaden. When I bought them, I knew it was too hard. Waiting until kids are ready is so much easier than trying to force something! Forcing things makes one want to shoot themselves in the foot...or worse.

Later was magnetic dolls. Over the last couple of years, we have received four sets! It's kind of nice though because the girls play as if the dolls are all part of a family, friends, etc. I love listening to the stories they make up. Today, one of the dolls was Grandpa.

I wanted to get in some reading, but only Taven was interested. Here he is kissing the baby.

After listening to me read to Taven, Eaden wanted to join. We read The Boy who was Raised by Librarians. I love this book because it reminds me of how libraries are supposed to be...and how they use to be. Now, at least here in Houston, they are understaffed and staffed primarily by people who are not librarians. The experience, in general, sucks. It's sad.

Naia moved on to a puzzle.

I let the kids open up one of their dinosaur dig activities outside. We didn't get too far because it started to get dark.

The mud kitchen is still in place.

Then back inside for more Octons, dancing, fort building, etc., etc., etc.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Competitive Gymnastics

It all started with ballet. The week after Christmas, Eaden said she wanted to try ballet. So I looked around, and while looking, came across a day camp at the Little Gym (which also offers ballet). I enrolled the girls in the day camp and they LOVED it. They wanted to go back. We did a free trial on one of the dancing classes and they said no. They just wanted to do gymnastics. So I talked to my husband, and in late January, we enrolled them in a preschool gymnastics class at the Little Gym. While there, I was reading our neighborhood magazine and saw an add for "open gym" at another place I had never heard of. It was for ages 5 and under, there were trampolines, a zipline, etc. I thought it would be neat to try because Taven could play. So we tried it out, they loved it, and I decided to have Eaden do a free trial gymnastics class at this new place (I love free trials). Well, she loved it too and we enrolled her. Naia was upset that Eaden had two classes and she only had one. Plus, Eaden wanted to do more at the "new gym." I signed Eaden up for another class at the new gym and gave her class at the Little Gym to Naia. So, 2 classes a week for both. This is when Eaden started getting REALLY obsessed.

Every morning, as soon as she wakes up, "mom do I have gymnastics today?" If it's a no, she gets really upset. If it's a "yes, later tonight," she starts saying things like "oh it's starting to look dark outside, is it time to go (at 9 a.m.)." Then she will look at her gymnastics books, watch gymnastics videos on youtube, and practice...ALL DAY LONG.

She constantly asks me to watch her or help her with something. If I say "no I can't help you right now," she starts whining and bugging me. I never even knew a 4 year old could be this obsessed about something. Oh and I forgot to mention, after the first week of classes, the gym moved her up to preschool advanced. After the 2nd week in advanced, they moved her up again to pre team! So, on top of her obsession, she's good. Now, I have no problem with competition and wanting to be the best (I was very competitive growing up). My main concern right now is getting her to focus on something other than gymnastics. I am finding myself having to become more involved. I have to guide her away. Remind her she still likes animals and dinosaurs, nature walks, and parks. And Naia has become best friends with Taven, asking him if he wants to play babies or dress up. 

Naia loves gymnastics too, but she is not nearly as in love as Eaden...

After talking it over a little bit with a friend, and after an insane amount of nagging from Eaden, I signed her up for a 3rd class. Not only because she is constantly asking me for help and I can't help her, but because she loves it. Moneywise, this is definitely our limit. The girls are not enrolled in anything else so we can afford this...barely. If at any point, Eaden's interest starts to wane, I can drop classes. I'm going to let her guide me in this. Wish me luck.

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Thanks Soulemama.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Holy Schnikeys! Best Deviled Eggs!

I'm sure y'all have all had deviled eggs before, but I'm going to post this anyway, just in case there is some unfortunate soul out there. This afternoon I found myself with a hankerin' for one of my favorite snacks...deviled eggs. However, I had no mayonnaise. So I googled how to make mayo and as you might know, it's quite simple. I took two egg yolks, added some salt and pepper, and then started whisking. I then added 1 cup of olive oil a drop at a time (all the while whisking). Add a tablespoon of vinegar at the end and whisk a little more. Of course, the mayo tasted quite olive oily, but it was all I had...and I thought it was great!

Next, I made the deviled eggs. Nothing fancy, just the basics. I use 6 boiled eggs, 1/4 cup mayo, some mustard (I just squeeze in the regular spicy kind, maybe 2 tablespoons), and a few dashes of tabasco. Oh, yeah, salt and pepper. Boil the eggs. Cut them in half, put yolks in a bowl. Then add mayo, mustard, tabasco, salt, and pepper. Mix. You might think I'm weird but I like mine a little chunky. I just get a fork and mash everything up a bit. Then I spoon it into the eggs and sprinkle paprika all over. 

Best deviled eggs ever! The homemade mayo makes the biggest difference!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mud Kitchen = Clean House

This morning I set up a mud kitchen for the kids. After cleaning out the pot of dirt and ants I poured into the pool, the kids quickly got to work.

And I got busy cleaning!

After almost two hours, the kids came in wanting a drink. Taven looked like a poor pitiful soul. They took a little break in the now clean book nook.

Then headed back out again.

I kept cleaning! My husband will be so proud.

After a bit longer, the kids came in and took a bath. Wow! My husband is REALLY going to be proud! And after the bath, I cleaned the tub!

I know it may not look that clean (especially to my mom), but some stuff just doesn't scrub off. Big improvement, I promise. However, I'm not getting to laundry folding today...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Alaska, My Love Affair

I know I've mentioned that I went to college in Alaska. Sometimes I start missing it and dig out all of my old pictures. That gave me the idea for this post. Now I can just come to my blog to remember.

Growing up in Texas I somehow fell in love with Alaska...or the idea of Alaska. I had never been there. I would go to bookstores by myself just to sit down and browse through those big Alaska coffee table books. Luckily for me, in Alaska, out of state tuition is nearly the same as in state tuition and after a little bit of bugging, researching the financial aspect, etc., I convinced my parents to let me go. My mom walked me to the terminal (this was a few weeks before 9-11) and said her goodbye. I boarded the plane for a place I had never been and where I knew no one. I landed in Anchorage with one hockey bag full of belongings and another hockey bag full of hockey equipment, hailed a taxi, and headed for my new home. 

I lived in the on campus apartments at UAA. Two of my roommates, one from Sand Point, Alaska, and one from Nome would become two of my best friends. My other roommate (from Wisconsin), a gymnast on the school team (lol), would become one of my worst enemies. Just kidding. Well, we had our differences. Anyway, I made friends, always trying to get them to take me to their home towns (I had no car but wanted to see as much as possible). There was a lot of fun had, many adventures, too many to write about here...

A Long Weekend

We had planned on going to our family beach house for the three day weekend, but with bad weather expected Friday and Saturday and bad tires on my car, we decided not to. On Saturday, we hung out at our friend Aidan's house.

Aidan gave us a lot of clothes, toys, books, and workbooks that he no longer uses. When we made it home and explored our new "treasures" we found a tracing book! Maybe you don't find this as exciting as I do, but I was just commenting on Verdemama's blog the other day about how I use to love tracing books but don't really see them anymore. It is Eaden's favorite now!

My sister gave us that lapdesk Eaden is using and the girls love it but only having one soon turned into a problem. So I made another one.

And now the girls have become workbook crazy.

 Eaden has started to invent spelling! I helped her with the sh and ch sounds. This is a recipe for pizza.

Recipe: Pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese, and olives

On Saturday, we made good use of our zoo membership and took my mom, sister, three nieces, Aidan and his mom to the zoo. Then we headed over to Hermann Park and the Butterfly Exhibit.

Today, Monday, we are cleaning, doing yardwork, taxes, and both girls have gymnastics.