Monday, October 22, 2012

Preschool, Letter E Week

Our verse for the week was "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6  Our Bible story focused on Noah and all of the animals in the Noah and his family were faithful and even the animals created by God have their way of praising the Lord.

We made our elephant letter E.

We also read, "Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes: A First Book All About You" by Judy Hindley.  I don't always like the books found at the library...another post right there...but this one was really cute.  To fit with our E theme, we reinforced the eyes, ears, and elbows. :)  After reading the book, Stevie helped color and add eyes to this boy and girl.  Googley eyes are so much fun!  Again, look past the awesome artistry.  (Now that we have a working computer again, I can print out pictures instead of having to draw them.  You're welcome.)  I'm not sure why the boy has black eyes, haha.

Later in the week, we read "Elephant in the Bathtub" by Kristina Andres. It's a silly book about an elephant taking a bath and there was still more room in the all of these other animals and bath toys join him.

So, we made an elephant (and a whale...Stevie wanted to include that...he liked the whale in the tub in the book) in a bathtub for our activity.  Please ignore the sketchy bathtub, haha...and some of the whale was attacked by little sister.  Oops.

Sprinkle Activities:
*We played Elefun, a $3 find at a garage sale last summer.
*We ate eggs.
*We used Mr. Potato Head to put his eyes, ears, and elbow (arm) on...with some other parts. :)
*We didn't get to an egg hunt, but that's a good one!
*Play in elbow macaroni!  I didn't have any on hand, but you can hide Mr. Potato Head parts or puzzle pieces in a bowl of macaroni...or just play, scooping and dumping.

Here's an extra:  Stevie working on his verse with me one day.  This is such a huge thing!!  He is super shy of the camera and just repeating our words was once a huge difficulty with his apraxia.  I couldn't believe we got a whole verse repeated recorded!  One year ago, he only had 15 consistent words and overall, was in such a difficult place.  I longed and longed to work on verses with him...and once in awhile, we would, mostly I sang the songs of verses, but we really couldn't do much when we needed to get basic words down.  It's still a stretch for his understanding and verbal vocabulary, but we  are making it a good habit and rooting God's Word in our hearts..."it will not return void."  (Isaiah 55:11) So, here we are.  We've come so far by the grace of God, so of course it's fitting that while these incredible developments are happening in our boy, we give thanks to the One who is doing this work in him (and us)!

Preschool, D Week

Here's what we did for D week in preschool...obviously a little less with all the yellow jacket business.  E week was even shorter...E for Exterminators.

Our verse for the week was, "My mouth will declare your praises oh Lord." Psalm 51:15  Were still using the same book for this week ("The Memory Bible" by Stephen Elkins) that gave us our lesson base and verse.

We made our D dinosaurs from here.  We should've made the necks a bit longer though...because Stevie thought they were turtles. ;)

The 2nd school day we read,."My Dad" by Anthony Browne.  It was cute about the great things this boy's dad is able to do. Stevie seemed to like it.  We made a special picture for Daddy after reading.  I made a circle capital D to use our dot markers in and wrote the rest of the letters leaving the other two d's with dashed lines to be traced.  This is brand new for Stevie, so I guided his hand. He used stickers and colored a bit.  He wanted a fish on it because the book showed a fish, talking about the Dad swimming like a fish.  Hopefully next year, Stevie can write (dictate) his own, "My Dad" story to share special things about his Daddy! 

Some items in our D box: picture of a dog and a deer, a dollhouse dresser/desk, a dump truck, a picture of Daddy, some dishes, and a duck.

Just a picture of my boy...just because I love him SO!

Some Sprinkle Activities:
*We had dinosaur dessert (brownies cut out with a dinosaur cookie cutter)
*Stevie dug in the dirt with his construction trucks
*We made our Daddy pictures spelling "Daddy"....successful or not, haha
*Danced to music....we're still working on this one with Stevie...he struggles with this when it's not "natural" due to motor planning difficulties.
*You could also decorate something, cookies, a project, a room....didn't get there this time.
*Drew pictures.
*Stevie has a movie on dump trucks and 'dozers....we love Mighty Machines around here!
*We did a lot of declaring around here...Stevie now shouts, "Praise the Lord!" throughout the day!  (I still love the songs for our verses included with the book....they help so much in memorizing them, and Stevie is starting to sing a word here and there...SO exciting!)

*Side note*  I am so glad we're doing the letter of the week...for so many reasons, I'm so glad we're doing preschool at home, but I really think it's helping some of his letter sounds.  Of course, that's part of the idea, but really harping on one letter a week and it's sound/s...repeating it all week, I've noticed some improvements.  Cows are no longer "chows"....even though I sort of miss those chows. ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back to Normal

So, I suppose we are somewhat back to normal the last couple of weeks.  For one, I'm typing on a laptop again!  Wahoo!  It was getting really old really fast typing on a tablet...or maybe punching would be more appropriate than typing.  I barely remember how to type anymore!  Lydia seemed to have done a little number on our laptop leaving it unusable for several months...till Matt was able to order stuff and get it running again.   I am thankful...and, he's pretty amazing!

In other news, we're back to more of a normal because the yellow jackets are gone!!  It was one super long month ordeal of the invasion of the yellow jackets in our home.  It was awful.  I think I would've been less stressed and worried about them if I hadn't been stung ...attacked, you remember, haha, that first day.  All I could think about was them getting to my kids.  We went through SO much to get rid of them.  Matt rigged a shop vac to one level of our roof and sucked up hundreds and hundreds.  We were still having a problem, so we had exterminators come.  Note to self, get exterminator first...if we're going that route!  They were completely ineffective because Matt had gotten so many with the vacuum, so we blew the money, argh... and us being unsure about whether we wanted the inside sprayed due to the chemicals (now we know, spray inside!! lesson learned), they didn't even bring the supplies to do the yellow jackets made their way inside the house....inside the kids' bedroom!!!  We spent a week at my parents' after we found a slew on the windows in our kids' room, interrupting my precious girl's nap.  I am so grateful that she appeared to be just fine, but we were home alone, and I called Matt frantically to come pick us up.  It was awful.  I really wish I had reacted better to the situation, but there is something about bees that makes me nuts.  Probably because ever since I was little, they are just attracted to me, and just seeing one would mean I would get stung.  Well, pretty much. ;)  That whole month was pretty awful on multiple levels though.  We just felt attacked on all sides.  I'm so glad we were able to stay at my parents' for a week.  My brother's family moved out just in time for us to move in, haha!  The kids had a blast (and decided not to sleep, haha), and I needed it too, even if we slept on the floor...trying to convince Stevie to go to sleep.  Bless his heart.  He was SO excited to sleep at Grandma and Grandpa's that our first night there he only slept 2 hours we think.  The next day...and the coming days, he was exhausted.  He just loves it there and has only stayed overnight when Lydia was born.  I always think it's fun to sleep in the same room with our kids.  And when we came home and were still battling a few yellow jackets...contained in their room...we still went back and forth to my parents' house for a week for naps, and then the kids slept in our room at home too.  I loved it.  Once I was comfortable, and we hadn't seen any in a couple of days, back they went to their room.  Bittersweet.  It was fun while it lasted, but Matt and I needed our room back.

Speaking of that man, he was the one who really did all the work.  He sprayed the interior himself with organic spray.  It was really strong though...and our house smelled for a month!  At least being natural oils and stuff it didn't smell horribly, haha.  His vacation days kicked in at the right time to take a day the first day he was eligible, he took rip off an exterior wall and find these things.  I made the mistake of looking at it before he put it back together.  YIKES, haha!  But, he's the best and put it back together wonderfully.  He eventually found the nest under/in the soffit.  Check this out!  We knew it was going to be big, bad, and ugly because of the horrible time we had with them.  I know it's kinda hard to see in the first picture, but the whole area is the nest!

It was over 4 feet long and filled the entire soffit area. It crumbled when Matt took it out. The reason we were still having some stragglers after the exterminator came was because babies were hatching and were unable to get out, so they came inside the house through the kids' room windows.  Yuck, yuck.  I am so thankful Matt found the nest and destroyed it!  They seemed to be especially bad this year.  Several people we know and some neighbors had nests in their walls as well.  We were told to keep our gutters clean (otherwise, they are attracted to it) ...yeah, needed to do that, and spray the outside of the gutter lines, windows, soffits at the beginning of the spring season.  We'll have to do that next year!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Library

Extremely interesting title, I know....and the post is even more exciting.  I also know how far behind I am in posts.  School posts are coming.  Yellow Jacket Wrap-Up post is coming.  Let's just say life is finally getting back to more of a normal state.

I'm glad I didn't give up on going to the library after our first....and second and third...trip to the library. My kids were not used to it, so it's a learning process.  We'd gone a few times before...and Lydia pulled the books off the shelves from her stroller.  The aisles were not spaced with strollers in mind.  So, our first official week at the library was pretty terrible....2 kids running wild in opposite directions, screams, tears, and I still had to find our books for the school week ahead.  I thought I'd share our plan of attack...or routine...if others are unprepared like I was.  It's true, I'm not always prepared.  Sometimes we wing it...even out of necessity at times.

It was important for me to realize my kids were going to need time and frequent trips to the library to get used to the expectations.  Just like in church...but that's another post.  So, we had to grin and bear it for awhile.  Every Friday we make an effort to go.  We also go early!  Get there before everyone else....that helps!  And just like shopping (or you know me, garage sale shopping), I need to go early when my kids are the most fresh.  If I wait till they are tired and hungry, watch out!  Did y'all hear us at Walmart last night?  Not pretty.

As we drive to the library and walk up to it, I go over how we need to be quiet, we need to be nice, and  we need to share at the train table.  Stevie loves that train table and wants to go just for that.  This library is fantastic with puzzles, stuffed animals, a fish tank, and other things, of course books....oh, and a chalk table.  Chalk in a clean, quiet library...with tiny children.  My one and a half year old is in love with the chalk...and at times the table...she's gotten better about running through the library, chalk in hand and chalk all over.  Sigh of relief....knock on wood.  Again, it's a process.

I have Stevie help me push the books through the return slot as soon as we get's fun!  Then we try our best to walk to the train table.  I still keep Lydia in an umbrella stroller with my list of books in hand.  I was so ridiculous thinking I could just look for books at the beginning.  Nope, I need to look for my books online ahead of time and bring my list and a bag for our books.  We grab them as quickly as possible while Lydia asks to get down the whole search and while I toss reminders to Stevie to be quiet or share.  After all the books have been pulled...or most of them, I let Lydia free to play.  I then can watch her better and help her with puzzles.  That's also when I look through the kids' movies because they are right in that section.

I have to give time warnings to help Stevie.  "5 more minutes..."  When our time is up, we head over to the fish....both kids like them, it's calming, and we just need something enjoyable and consistent before we leave the wonderful library.  This is where we put on coats and get our library card out.  Then we check out our books and Stevie gets to push the handicap buttons to help us out the door.  Always practicing being a gentleman and a little independence while having fun.

Then of course, I remind the kids.....I'm a mom, so there are lots of reminders....that we'll have a snack in the van on the way home.  Call it bribery, but keeping our next activities exciting helps with those transitions.  (My kids would live at the library)  And snacks help curb the low blood sugar meltdowns....for me too.

By the time we get home, I'm usually ready for a nap.