Friday, August 26, 2011

Evening at the river

Tonight we went to a birthday party for a little friend. It was at Kelly Point Park, which is a park at the point where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet. We had such a lovely evening hanging out with friends, eating good food, and watching the kids play on the river bank in the sand.

There were a couple of kid moments that I wanted to record, so I don't forget them... they were so precious.

There was a little meadow by the picnic tables where we were eating, and Jonathan walked around picking dandelions (think white fluff, not yellow flower), until his hands were full of bouquets of puffy balls. He kept saying "bubble, bubble... blow." At one point he had six or seven dandelions in his hands. It was so cute.

Later we were walking back to the parking lot, about a 5 minute walk. The sun had gone down, and it was quite dark. Since our kids usually go to sleep while it is still light (at least in the summer) Elisa was talking about how dark it was and how she couldn't see. I told her "You know what helps your eyes see better in the dark?... Carrots." She thought on this for awhile and then asked me, "You know what else helps you see better in the dark?... Flashlights."

It was just such a lovely evening. It felt good to relax with friends in a beautiful setting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Get your boots on!

But Mom... Why can't I go outside?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Fun

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to this summer...
Playing in fountains around town.

Another trip to the beach... this time it was such a beautiful day. Perfect!

Ice Cream!

I love this picture even though it's blurry... it shows Jonathan's personality so well.

Dinner at the Grilled Cheese grill. We ate on the second story of the bus.

Playing at "Discovery Pond" playground at the Snake Lake Nature Preserve in Tacoma.

This picture melts my heart. I love seeing them hold hands. They are such good buddies.

Jonathan has to be in on any project that involves tools. Here he's helping my dad fix the door.

Just chillin' with popsicles.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August... ugh.

Every year since Greg started working in Student Development, August has been a rough time of year for me. It's an exciting time of year... RA training, students moving in, beginning of the school year... but all of this means that Greg works long hours. This past week he was on a backpacking trip with his PA staff, he was out of cell phone range. It was the third week he'd been gone out of the past five weeks. And by the end of the week I could really tell... I was ready for him to come home. Yesterday he came back... and it's been so great to have him back! Today we had a great family day with the kids, and then went out on a date this evening (thanks to Wanda, our great baby-sitter). Now the worst of August is behind us and I'm looking forward to the start of classes and getting back into a routine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Learning to write

A few months back Elisa started to be really interested in writing her name. I tried to encourage her and to help her do it without being too pushy or practice-y about it. She would put like 7 lines on her E, and she would haphazardly write her letters around the paper... in the right order, but not in a line from left to right. Still, that being said, it was amazing to me. I felt like I had a genius child. (I know a lot of kids start to write their names at this age... but you know... mother's pride). Then, just as suddenly as she started, she stopped. She wasn't interested any more. So, though I really wanted to, I tried not to push it. I firmly believe that a three-year-old needs to play... that is her work for now. (I do try to incorporate purposeful learning activities into her day... but only as long as she is interested in doing them.) There will be plenty of time for schoolwork later. Still, I was a little disappointed. Especially when I saw other kids her age writing their names.
I had put this book on hold ages ago at the library. And I got it a couple months after Elisa stopped being interested in writing her name. It was fascinating. One of the things she said was that there are a number of factors that you need to look for to determine that a child is ready to begin learning to write: that the child has chosen a skill hand, ability to hold a pencil correctly, hand strength, hand dexterity, etc. Another thing that she talks about is how large muscles support small muscles... that's why running, jumping, climbing, riding trikes, and all those other things that kids do naturally, are so important. She talked about starting out with the correct posture and the correct ways to write letters, so that later they don't have to go back and relearn things. Anyway, I gleaned all of this from a short perusal. I didn't have the time right then to read the whole book and I had to take it back to the library. But it was fascinating and it made me feel better about my decision not to push Elisa into writing. It seemed to me as I watched her that her hands weren't quite strong enough yet. So we did some extra play with play-doh and waited. And now, I've started thinking that her hand is strong enough. And guess what? Today we did a chalk writing activity and she totally loved it. I wrote various names that she requested in chalk and then she traced them (at first with her finger dipped in water and then with a paintbrush).

Anyway, if this is as fascinating to you as it is to me, and if you have a child at this stage you might want to check out some of the pre-writing activities listed on this post over at Childhood 101. I especially loved this article about hanging on the monkey bars. Happy reading! (and writing!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dining table and chairs re-do

Last August I posted about how I found a beautiful drop leaf table that fit perfectly in our small space. Well, I've loved the table. It's been great for everyday use, and for entertaining. But the finish was completely worn off the top and there were a couple of spots where the top was marred by hot things. And our chairs... we got them ten years ago... they had cream colored seat cushions... need I say more? So I decided it was time for a little re-do. Here are the before and afters:



For the painting I followed the instructions I found here. She made it sound so easy. But as someone who has never really painted furniture before, I have to say that painting the tabletop made me want to pull my hair out. I was trying to make it as smooth as possible, but with such a large flat surface and sticky oil paint it was impossible. So there are definitely brush strokes. I thought about spray painting, since that's really the only way not to have brushstrokes. But considering that it's a dining room table and it gets a lot of use, I wanted something really durable. So I decided to use a brush and a high quality oil based enamel. And despite the brush marks, overall I love how everything turned out. Especially the chairs. The best part of the chairs is that I recovered the seat cushions with outdoor fabric. So water (and presumably red juice) just beads up and wipes off. So hopefully they won't stain quite so badly in the future.

I love it. Every time I sit down I'm pleasantly surprised by the new fabric and black chairs.