Friday, August 29, 2008

Unplugged - Insect

This theme was a natural for our family. E has little fear of creepy-crawlies, and you can often find her on hands and knees observing an ant or a spider VERY close up. I decided to keep the message simple...Insects (or "bugs" as we call them) have six legs and two antennae. She learned the six legs part quickly, though she teased me by saying "Twenty!" every time I asked. I knew she was being a smarty pants because when I sweetened the deal with chocolate she immediately changed her answer to "Six, Mommy! Six!" Yay, Pavlov.

The word "antenna" is proving harder...ask her what bugs have on their heads and she will either reply "Antlers" or "Invitations."'s all for fun anyway, right? So I decided that my crafty girl and I should make some insects...we missed posting for the cylinder theme last week, so we combined them and made insects out of cylinders! For a while, I've had this idea to cut animals out of paper towel tubes, so we painted a few in buggy for a ladybug and green for a grasshopper.
Of course we also had to paint paper, both with brushes and with the tubes themselves. It was a beautiful day...the picture above was taken before I wised up and took her clothes off. I tried to describe that I would be cutting a bug out of the tube, and she kept looking inside it asking, "Are you gonna get the bug out of there yet?" After she went to bed that night, I started "carving" the tubes. I accented the grasshopper with a sharpy. I think they came out pretty cool, and E seems to like them.

I didn't really have a plan, I just removed everything that wasn't bug! :) Yeah, me and Michelangelo, we're two of a kind. I think I might work on some templates for other critters...incidentally, you can make little animals if you cut the other way too, with the curve instead of against it. Then you just bend neck, ears, tail, and legs and you've got critters! We also made candy bugs...well, I made them and E ate them. We used that melty junk (I think it's 90% dye) in a squeeze bottle, and I just shaped little bugs on a sandwich bag (they peel off really easily). Finally, we went to the library, and checked out The Very Quiet Cricket and The Very Clumsy Click Bug, both by Eric Carle. We read them tonight before bed, and were surprised with a special the end of each book, there's a little sound chip that makes bug noises. E and I looked at each other, confused as to where the clicking was coming from. I can't even describe the smile on her face when she realized the bug was clicking at her.

I think we'll keep on with this theme a little longer. We'll be up north this weekend, in the wood with lots of bugs. Maybe we'll catch some and count their invitations. :)

My Pink Phone

Uh, I hate to admit this...

I just found my "new" pink phone at the bottom of the's now dry and plugged in, but no life in it yet. I'm blaming E, because she put it in my back pocket as I walked down the hall. In my haste to get laundry done for the weekend, I flaked out and sent my beloved phone through a heavy duty, warm water cycle.

If it survives, Motorola is going to get one fantastic thank you letter...but it's not looking good. :(

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Big Kid

We had a wonderful weekend, full of energy and laughter and smiles...including my birthday on Friday. :) When I walked in the door from work, I said to M, "Don't go to work today." Well, he counted up his days off and said, "Okay, I won't." Yay. I really needed that, and it meant a lot to me that he stayed, even though he was literally walking out the door, lunch packed, ready to go. We decided to make it a really special day, and brought the kids to the splash pad at Hawk Island, the sprinkler park that E tried out (and hated) at the start of the summer.

Thankfully she has gotten used to splashing water, and she really made the most of the hours we spent there. She just giggled the whole time, running in and out of the misty water, and making "E-prints" whenever she hit the dry concrete. It was fun watching her, but my favorite part was watching my husband. Besides being a splash buddy for E, he would smile and talk to any other kid who got close to him. There was not one other adult out there. Every other parent (including me) was watching from the shaded seats, waving once in a while to their wet and excited kid. When some little boys started shooting each other with giant water guns, M joined in a three way water fight. I swear, his smile showed the pure fun of being a "boy". Daddies and daughters have a special bond, but so do daddies and sons. I can't wait until Baby m is out there laughing and splashing with his dad. M will not be in the shade watching, that's for sure!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Party's Over

Who would think that eight months could fly by so fast? My extended leave is over, and today was my first day back to work. M brought the kiddos to school and I got a super big caramel coffee on my way in to my office. The first few hours were frustrating...some technical glitches got my blood pressure up. WAY up. But I managed to get some work done, and had a nice (free) lunch. That's the best part of kick-off week, BTW. Three, count em, three, free lunches.

Tomorrow will consist of more technical headaches in the morning and a science department meeting in the afternoon. Classes start on Thursday, and I have some serious hurdles to jump before then. I need to update my lectures and Wednesday morning is my only time to do it. Uh.

When we were on vacation, I had a massage on the beach. The massage therapist said, "You know, you would really benefit from a massage every week." I agree. I'll get right on that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Unplugged - Trees

What a great theme! There were a million ways I could go with this one, being a field biologist. But, figuring that E would eventually get plenty of science lessons, I went with another of my passions...genealogy. After brainstorming with my sis, I introduced E to a simple version of our family tree.

First I went though the vacation photos from this summer. Luckily we took trips with both sides of the family, and had plenty of pics on hand. Otherwise, this step could have taken a LONG time. I opened a PowerPoint document and pasted a small version of each photo onto the page, then printed it out. I looked for shots of two or more family members to make the job a little less daunting. I ended up with 18 pictures...then I cut out 18 apples from red construction paper and found 18 paper clips.
When E woke up from her nap, I told her it was "Project Time!" She was so excited to get started, until Baby m woke up. She started to cry and said, "Now we can't do a project." I assured her we could still do it, and handed her a glue stick. No problem. She took each picture, one at a time, and stuck it to an apple while I talked to her about family. She named each person, and even talked about what they were doing in the pictures. She started slowing down about halfway through, so I attached some of the paper clips to the apples and we went over to the "Family Tree" (a fake Ficus in the living room) to hang them. While Baby m crawled around pawing at our toes, E and I decorated the tree with people. Then back to gluing so she could hang "MORE!"
I knew the project was a hit when she dragged Grandma over to see it later that night, and asked me to pull off all the apples so she could hang them again. By the time she went to bed, 15 of the 18 apples were all jammed together, hanging on one branch. I guess that's where we belong, together after all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Boardwalk Baby

Just when you think you know your kid, you take her to the boardwalk. I was convinced that E would have a hard time with all the loud noises, the crowds, the toys and candy she couldn't have...I was sure that she would be overstimulated. Boy, was I wrong. From the first slice of pizza to the last game of Skee-ball, she loved every minute of it.

We started with dinner and a walk to the family's favorite pier, and we happened on the Cutest Baby Parade. After watching a few of the contestants, none of whom were cuter than Baby m, we moved on to the games and kiddie rides. First, we managed to win a giant Hello Kitty in the water squirting contest, which actually made E squeal with glee. Then we made our way to the merry-go-round, where E declared that she wanted a "brown horse." Okee dokee. I boosted her up and off we went, waving at Daddy and the rest of the clan as Mommy got dizzier and dizzier with every spin. From her perch on the brown horse E spotted "Sponge Bob," who was actually a guy dressed up as a giant crinkle cut French Fry. By the time we got off the ride he had disappeared into the night.

Then came the boat ride, where E rode by herself for the first time. She loved ringing the little bell, and I was thankful that she was wise enough not to CHEW on the rope like the kid in back of her...yuck. Then, into the arcade. She tossed the Skee-balls willy nilly, much to the dismay of our VERY competitive ball-rolling neighbors, but I didn't stop her. My girl was having fun. After a short chat with a baby drinking a bottle, she moved on to the slot machines. Oh, those blinking lights. E scored big time just by punching the buttons randomly, and did a victory dance in the 125 tickets that the machine spit at her. When it came time to cash in, she picked out some lolly-pops, a deck of cards, some plastic motorcycles, a Twizzler, and some stick-on earrings...she thought she was hot stuff, really.

Time for more rides, which made Mommy very nervous. She wanted to go on the plane. The plane that goes up in the air. More specifically, "the yellow one." Okay, who am I to say she can't? The carnival man was confident that the seat belt would hold us both in, and that the hydraulics could withstand my weight, so up we went. "Higher, Mommy!" she screamed, so I would lower the plane just to take it back up again. Yippee! It was great fun. Then a short drive in a red truck (she apparently loves steering wheels), ice cream with Daddy, and back home safely with hardly a tear. Ask her what she did at the boardwalk, and this is her reply..."A horse, a boat, a plane and a truck. And earrings. And I fro a ball. And I see Sponge Bob." Does it get any better than that?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Unplugged - Hot

We spent a lot of "hot" unplugged time this week...I didn't know the theme beforehand, but we were at the Jersey shore with my family. Despite the 12-hour car ride, it was a great vacation...both E and Baby m thought the sand was fantastic. E even made sand angels. If you don't believe we were hot, check out the picture of Baby m. It's become kind of a family tradition to sculpt strange things in the sand. We used to spend hours on large, elaborate (though very novice) designs, but now that we have two small kids, we go for small and fast. My "hot" cup of coffee fits the bill for this week's theme! Best that we kept it small, because as soon as we completed our "sand castle breakfast" E destroyed it using her best Swiper the Fox imitation. To quote her exactly, "You'll never fix your sand cup of coffee now! Heh, heh, heh." For the uninitiated, Swiper is the sneaky friend of Dora the much for "Unplugged"! :)
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr