It may only be Spring in the calendar sense at the moment, but oh, we can feel it coming....
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Matias and Violet have been learning about angles recently. We encountered the concept while building our Rube Goldberg Machines. At first I thought that this was going to be a difficult concept for them, but it turns out that angles are everywhere, and they are visible and tangible, and really not that hard at all! A few things we did with angles:
|So, how about those backwards < and > signs? We knew what we meant :)|
We discussed the difference between obtuse and acute angles (awww, isn't it so a-cute?!) Matias does taekwondo, and he has already learned to jump 90 degrees, then 180 degrees, then 270 and 360 degreee circles, so he immediately grasped that idea. I had no idea he already knew that much. Cool! We got a good workout practicing jumping those different angles- a few 360s in a row, and I was quite out of breath! I don't think there is any learning quite as solid as building a physical memory of a concept (and I will not soon forget just how far around 360 degrees is!!)
Next we pulled out the protractor and measured some angles around our house: the fireplace screen, the art drawer, the door frame, etc. The kids have been noticing angles all over the place ever since!
Then, while the little ones napped, Matias used the miter box to saw some angles into some old boards (leftover from taekwondo testing, actually). That was a BIT hit!
It just goes to show that most complex concepts can be introduced at an early age, especially if the child is eager to learn about them. Obviously, we don't care if they master the concepts, learn to measure angles perfectly, or teach formulas...we just introduce the ideas and tools and play around with them. Hopefully, in the future, they will encounter angles in a more formal way and they will say, "hey, I learned about this when I was little...this is easy!"
Friday, March 15, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Spring is not so far off. There may be snow on the ground outside, but what better time to force some bulbs and plant a bit of grass? We thought that our little man might enjoy watching some plants grow...who knows if he's had that opportunity before...and on day two they are already popping up. Hooray for quick growing plants! We planted a few in water beads as well, just as an experiment, and they also appear to be quite happy. I am ready for Spring flowers, how about you?!
Monday, March 11, 2013
Back in January, we decided that we should swap the kids' rooms around to give the two girls who share a room the biggest room, and to make room to host children from Safe Families. Well, little did we know that we would begin hosting our first child in the middle of the process, or that things would be delayed (which we should always just assume, I suppose), but the rooms are finally done. Or done enough. So here are the before and after shots (note how Beatrice seems to sneak into pictures!):
|Lego curtains, lots of room for Lego building!|
|Very studious looking desk (which is already covered in...you guessed it...Legos)|
|New-to-us bunk beds (thank you!!) with lots of storage.|
|Almost completed play fort in the closet, with baby doll house underneath|
|Dress-up corner hidden away behind the bed.|
We have a few more things to finish up and hang on the wall (and the office floor to find), but we are thrilled with the new rooms and happy to get back to "normal" after all the chaos. Phew! Now are ready to host our first child (oh wait, we've had him for two weeks...glad we didn't let the madness stop us!)
Friday, March 8, 2013
A little board breaking action from our last taekwondo testing. Three of us are now doing taekwondo (with Violet hoping to join us very soon). It is such an awesome family activity...we can do it together, we each work towards our own goals at our own pace, it is a great workout, a huge stress reliever, it develops focus and discipline, and it is such a positive environment. Oh yeah, and we totally get to look like ninjas. Boo yah.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
This week our homeschool "theme" is colors. My kiddos are 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 5 years old...so quite a range of knowledge and skills. I tried to plan activities that everyone could participate in on their own level, and that would provide lots of speech and motor skill practice and sensory experiences. Here are a few of the things we have done:
|We sorted Fruit Loops by color|
|We strung the Fruit Loops on pipe cleaners.|
|The older kids were able to make patterns.|
Friday, March 1, 2013
|And then there were four!|
Our house is in the middle of a painting-carpeting event, that includes highlights like exposed tack strips, bed frames in the living room and carpet on back-order. Fun times. If you know me, you can imagine how crazy this makes me. In fact, in the spirit of honesty, let me give you a peek at my house this week:
|One bedroom completely out of commission until the carpet comes in (but do you like the new curtains?!)|
|The living room is not fit for much living in|
|But the piece-de-resistance is really the office. Yikes.|
I won't share any specific information about our little guy, other than he is two and a half, and cuter than a dickens. It is a shame I can't share pictures, because I promise you his dimples would melt your heart. He is settling in, finding his place in the pecking order (precariously placed between a one and a half year old, and a three and a half year old), and endearing himself to all five of us.
Obviously this is early days yet, and we have SO much to learn, but here are a few thoughts for the moment:
1) Sleepytime is hard. As you'd expect, when naptime and bedtime roll around, our little guy starts missing his mama and expressing his grief over everything that is happening. We have spent hours rocking, snuggling, laying on the floor next to and just holding him while he cries himself to sleep. Bedtime is a two-person job- one to attend to our kids, and one to attend to him. I tried solo naptime yesterday, and it was not exactly a success. But hey- there are worse things that giving out cuddles. And we are making progress. Each night we have cut the bedtime upset down by about half...tonight it was only 45 minutes.
2) Adding an extra child adds one extra meal, one extra set of dishes, one extra pair of boots, one extra carseat to buckle...but five extra relationships. Each of us is reacting in a different way. Our other children are in need of extra love and reassurance from us right now. Their grandparents have been super awesome...showering them with extra attention while we are busy. Beatrice is in a mine-mine-mine screaming stage, and is used to her brother and sister giving in to her. Our new little guy is less inclined to do that...which makes for a lot of refereeing on my part. Note to self...clip the fingernails of both kiddos.
3) Advocating. In two days I've already had several nice conversations with his mother, our local pharmacist, his pediatrician, insurance company, social worker, and our SFFC coach. This is not hard, and I am more than happy to track down what our guy needs, but it takes time- both face time and phone time- which can be hard to come by with four kids running around.
4) We have been really proud of our kids...they have showed a lot of patience and compassion to the new child. Matias came with me to pick him up, and he was awesome...he brought some toy cars to share, introduced himself to the child and his mother, and broke the ice for everyone. He rubbed his back when he was crying on the way home, and picked up his cup for him about twelve times. They have been very patient with the crying (and they are ALL sleeping in a room together at the moment, so they have heard all of it), they have snuggled him, shared toys and overlooked some hitting/pushing/toy stealing. He is a very sweet, well-behaved child, but he is still a two year old after all.
5) People are awesome. A million thanks to all our family and friends who are supporting us- we totally feel the love. Offers of diapers, clothes, car seats, playdates, babysitting, hair-care advice...all so kind (and we are totally taking you up on it!) They say that God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called...and you have all been equipping us with what we need. Thanks!!
So...that's the story so far. I'm sure we will look back on this post some day and laugh.