Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On My Mind - Wednesday March 31, 2010

I am beyond tired tonight. I am exhausted, so I'm going to keep this short and head for bed.

Austin's CAT scan today looked great, the blood clot from the bleeding has reabsorbed. The Neurosurgeon said he can go back to normal life. No restrictions on activity and no more medication. Austin was so happy with this news he nearly bounced all the way back to the parking garage to go home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On My Mind - Tuesday March 30, 2010

A lot of things are on my mind right now. Some important, some rather trivial, most of them in between. Here are a few of them.

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Tomorrow we go for Austin's follow up CT scan and visit with the neurosurgeon. While I feel that the bleeding is still stopped I also still feel a certain sense of unease about this visit. Maybe it's family history, there seem to be a lot of unpleasant health surprises in my extended family, or maybe it's just the natural concern of a mother, but I'll be glad when this appointment is over and we get the all clear. Austin has been nervous about the appointment as well today, having a hard time concentrating on his assignments and losing himself in movies during his free time.

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 I have lots of exciting new ideas for this blog and can hardly wait too get the time to implement them. Because my family and the children I care for need me during the day my writing and "blog" time has to be in the evenings after everyone else goes to bed. This week I've been drinking 5 hour energy drinks to keep myself going at night so I have "me time"  and "blog time."While I'm not sure that's such a great solution it's the best I can do right now. I did discover that drinking two of them in one day is really not a good option for me, even though the instructions say it's okay to do so.I guess that was my lesson for today.

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We got a wonderful taste of warm spring weather last week. The children got to go outside and play, the windows were open, Doug even grilled chicken one evening and we ate outside on our front porch. Now it's windy, damp and chilly again and I'm tired of having cold feet. I want Spring back!

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And now I think it's time for me to go to bed before I fall asleep sitting here in this chair. I guess my 5 hours of energy is just about used up.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cuddling With the Cat

This is how I found Amanda and Scout when I went to get her up for church this morning.

Planning for a Successful Day With Toddlers and Preschoolers

A day with toddlers and preschoolers can seem like fun, but without a little planning it can quickly turn into a headache. Toddlers and preschoolers thrive on having a routine and knowing what comes next. A daily schedule or routine can go a long way toward a keeping things running smoothly. It doesn't have to be set in stone - flexibility is also important - but it should have a degree of consistency.

Children at this age have short attention spans so be sure to take this into consideration when planning the day. Mix quiet activities with more active ones and if one thing is not working be prepared to switch gears. Flexibility within the routine is key. A typical day at Rose's House includes reading age appropriate books, building with blocks, puzzles, crafts or coloring, outdoor play, free play, dramatic play, and (my favorite part) rest time. There are many activities that this age enjoys so be sure to fill the day with variety.

Here are the links to a few of the blogs I enjoy reading that are full of quality ideas and resources for toddlers and preschoolers.
Preschool is Fun - Planning Activities
Preschool Playbook
Teacher Tom
Storytime and More
United Teaching
United Teaching Discoveries

Snacks are very important because young children use a lot of energy and tend to need to refuel often. A great article on this subject is Snacks for Preschoolers at The National Network for Childcare. Take advantage of this time while the little ones are occupied to have a small snack yourself, to sit with them as they enjoy their snack and simply enjoy them. It's a great way for everyone to quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) refresh and reconnect. Also having water available on demand throughout the day is a great way to keep little ones hydrated and feeling their best.

Most of all have fun.  Learning is important, routine is important, but unless everyone is enjoying the process very little of value will be accomplished. Be a little silly, laugh a lot, enjoy the children. The most important lesson we can teach children, or maybe the children teach us, is to be present in and enjoy the moment and the "little" joys along the way.

Learning With Books - Books We Enjoyed This Week 3/21-3/27

Terrific Trains
This book of rhyme about trains has a wonderful rhythm to it is fun to read and listen too. We talked about how the train goes over the water on the bridge and the water goes under the bridge. We also talked about how red lights mean stop and green lights mean go.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Suess
I always enjoy reading this book, the challenge of reading through these tongue twisters without getting my tongue completely twisted is fun. We talked about some of the colors in this book - pink, blue and red - and counted the pink pigs in Ben's Big Pig Band. There were eight. Michael enjoyed the pictures of the beetle bottle battle since like many little boys he is fascinated with bugs.

Go, Dog. Go!
This book addresses a number of concepts as we follow the many dogs on their adventures. There are green, blue, yellow, red, black and white dogs. These dogs go up, down, over, under, in, and out. There are big dogs and small dogs. The dogs sleep at night and play and work during the day. The dogs stop at the red light and go at the green light. As we read I point to the scene being described and even the younger toddlers enjoy this book. We read this book twice  this week.

Thomas and the Big, Big Bridge
This book seems to be bit of a stretch for the toddlers, yet they repeatedly choose it for story time. We did talk about the colors blue, green and white and count the trains on one of the pages.

Disney's The Lion King II Simba's Pride
We had fun finding and naming the animals in this book - giraffes, zebras, antelope, warthog, baboon, crocodiles and, of course, lots of lions. And it's fun to roar like a lion.

 We had fun going through this book of animals and signing the ones that we've learned the signs for so far. And it's always fun to make the animal sounds.

 In a People House
 This is a fun book for practicing the names of common items around the house. Hunter and Michael especially like the page with the lights and lamps. Lauren enjoys the page with the bouncing ball.

 The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
 Hunter was particularly interested in the water in the bathtub when we read this book this week. We looked several times at the pictures of the water running into the tub and then at the one where there was no water running. Reinforcing our ABC's and the color pink were also covered with this book.

 Just Me and My Mom
 There were a lot of fun things to talk about in this book. From the dinosaur skeleton with BIG teeth that was in the museum, to the seals, to the yummy looking hot dog they ate for lunch. And of course we had to find the frog on each page as he followed along for all the Little Critter adventures.

Ten Apples Up On Top This book was a big favorite with Hunter this week and gave us lots of opportunity to practice counting to ten.

 Walt Disney's Peter Pan and Wendy 
 Michael was thrilled that there was a character with his name in this book and on nearly every page we had to find the boy named Michael. The pirate's boat in the water was another big topic of conversation and Hunter insisted it was in a bathtub.

 Disney's Beauty and the Beast
 The talking teapot, clock and candlestick were points of interest in this book, along with the wolves and the horse.

 Bradley and the Great Swamp Mystery
 This book has a lot of interesting things in it to talk about. It's fun to name all the food the animals took along for their picnik - bananas, balogna, bread, and the bottle of blueberry soda. Then there are bird, butterfly and bee to look at and talk about. Since there is a lamb in this story we Michael wanted to sing Mary Had a Little Lamb so we did. Bradley Bear's flashlight is very useful in finding his lost friend, and we check on each page to see if his flashlight is on or off. At the back of the book is a list of Bb words with pictures that we review.

 Baby Einstein See and Spy Counting
This is a fun book for practicing counting to five. The illustrations are bright and interesting and the text fun.

Love - Johnny Appleseed 
We enjoyed this book and looking at all the animals who lived in and around the tree.

What Will I Be?
This is a really fun book about careers with photographs of children dressed up as people in the various careers. Baker, mechanic and astronaut were big favorites when we read the book this week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Childcare Photo Journal Saturday March 27, 2010

We finally bought new controllers for the playstation and the kids got a lot of use out of them.

But we did other fun things too.

Like crafts.

And playing with tools.

I Found the Office!

When I moved some of the kids things out of our office into the hallway all the rearranging left the office in shambles. So today I tackled the mess and reclaimed the office. 

Before pictures.

Like I said, it was in shambles.

Here are the after pictures.

Michael spilled paint on this table and it dried before I realized what happened. I am going to try to find some way to get it off but haven't gotten it done yet.

There are still things I want to do in this room, like curtains for the two windows, but at least we can use it again. In fact, I'm using it now as I type this. Hiding from the kids, away from the tv and the playstation. 

This is good.

Michael the Toolman

Friends of ours gave Michael this very cool tool bench and tools that their son no longer plays with. Michael was so excited and proud of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photo Journal Wednesday March 24, 2010

It was a beautiful day to go outside and run and play.

Yes, Holly, we know you're goofy, but we love you anyway.

Who knows what kind of treasure could be buried in this yard!

Traffic Jam!

Batter Up!

Austin and Zac (on the outer edges of this picture) decided to throw the ball over the roof of this building.

Amanda combining computer time with outside time. She was finding it a little hard to see what was on the screen though.

D is laughing at me because she took my chair when I got up to take care of another child. Doesn't she look proud of herself?

Attempted Jail Break


The Amazing Orange Glove

I asked Katie and Liam if the were refueling their horse, which they found to be hilarious. Because silly me, this isn't just a horse, it's a motorcycle horse!

Sliding fun.

Connect Four anyone?