Tuesday, April 15, 2014

3rd Grade Art

I always look forward to the day M.G. brings home her main art pieces for the year.  I'm not sure why the teacher saves them all up for the end - maybe she maintains a portfolio for each child over the year or something.  I know a piece or two are currently being saved for an art show, so perhaps the teacher selects different pieces for each child.  Anyway, these came home yesterday.

 The first was an exercise in using the color wheel.  Warm colors on the right and cool colors on the left. I kind of want to hang it in my office.

Yelling Os, in warm colors, wearing party hats

For the next they were asked to put two colors in each box caused by the tree branches and they were also learning about the color wheel with this one.

Banyan tree in water

Cardinal with a new nest

Each student was asked to create a drawing for the duck stamp (it has something to do with conservation and hunting, I think) program's design content. I know M.G. spent some time working on hers. She was given an honorable mention for her goose!  

Greater white-fronted goose

Catching up - mid-April

We're picking up speed as the end of the school year approaches.

A few weekends ago Papa took some students to a conference over the weekend. I am fairly sure it is the longest I was on my own with all 4 kids, but we had a good time. It's nice to have an excuse for putting aside our normal weekend chores and just doing fun things together.  

M2's favorite fish friend.
The weekend after that we traveled to Minnesota to see Uncle Dave on his last day in town before heading home. We were worried that a snow storm would keep us home, but in the end it wasn't a problem at all. We spent some time at the zoo, played at Grandma and Grandpa's condo, and the day went really fast.

Watching the bears.

This past Friday and Saturday the weather was just beautiful and we spent a lot of time outside. Quite a few neighborhood friends were also out and the kids spent a lot of time running around and playing. Papa cut down one of our trees and drastically trimmed another, with the help of a neighbor's chain saw.  M2 enjoyed watching and was a lot of help hauling branches.

Now it has cooled off again - we had a small amount of snow yesterday. Hopefully we'll get some more nice weather here soon.

The kindergarten class has started its end of year count-down, which add some excitement to the month.  M2 is home the first three days of this week because the kindergarten teachers are screening next year's class.  He and M.G. have Thursday, Friday, and Monday off for Spring break.  Yesterday he came to work with us and spent some time in my office and some time in Papa's.  Between a workbook he really enjoyed, writing on the whiteboard, going out for lunch with Papa, and reading, he would have stayed longer! Tomorrow he'll be at work with us again, I hope he didn't use up all of his quiet behavior yesterday! 

M4 seems to have started trying to throw a lot more words at us all of a sudden. So, seems like we don't have anything to worry about there.  He suddenly also will sit and listen to a story sometimes, too.  Still hard to read to other people when he is unoccupied, but I think it is getting better.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

M4 - 18 months

My sweet koala baby is 18 months now! Yikes, must stop calling him the baby. As I remembered I needed to write this post I tried to think of photos to use, since he is sniffly today and it is overcast. The above photo is one of the few where he is not blurry or doing something silly.
(Big sisters are good for helping you turn a leotard into a flowery cape!)

We had a moment of sun, so I tried a quick photo shoot. If he sees the camera he either tries to grab it or intentionally baffle me. No matter where I sat he'd walk up and sit right in front of me, like this...

 We did get a big "CHEESE" out of him once...

 before he started trying to climb up to grab the camera.

He is at a fun age where it is neat to see all that he is figuring out. We heard him say "Grandpa" when my parents were here a couple weekends ago and we give him little jobs like bringing his shoes over to us or putting toys away.

He doesn't seem to have a lot of words (the doctor today said he should have 7 - 20 and he's on the low end of that.) But he does throw a word in here or there.

He runs, walks, climbs, throws, and wrestles. He can be a little bit of a brute, but we're trying to nip that in the bud. Bath time is one of his favorite things right now. We've been getting outside more often and he walks as fast as he can up and down the sidewalk. (Until he suddenly veers into the street if I'm not right next to him - hopefully we can get that stopped or I'll spend the summer walking the cul-de-sac with him!)

The girls taught him pat-a-cake a week or two ago and at random time's he'll start doing the motions until someone plays with him.  I took the kids to church on Sunday on my own (Papa was out of town) and at one point he started pointing at and patting his hand.  I tried to shush him, but when I didn't respond he threw his hands in the air with a shout ("throw it in the oven...")

The kids are good with him and probably let him get away with too much, but he really wants to do what they are doing as much as possible.  He will page through books, but screams at us if we try to read to him.  I hope that changes at some point, because he screams if I read to anyone.

Meat is his favorite food and he gobbles up as much sausage, ground beef, and sometimes chicken as we'll let him have.  We've learned to limit him a little or he gets fussy later. 

Daycare has improved so much since Christmas.  He doesn't cry anymore and smiles when he sees some of the teachers.  At pick-up he is happy to see me, but in more of a "Hey, there you are!" and not "Get me out of here right now!"

Today he had a check-up and his MMR vaccine.  He cried and cried right when the nurse walked in, so they left it to me to weigh and measure him when we were alone in the room.  Our doctor does a good job with the kids and before long M4 was smiling at him.  It's too bad that by the time M4 was ready to really chat with the doctor the visit was over!  M3 was a helper, trying to show M4 the ropes. He's 24.4 lbs (~25%) and about 32 inches (~30%, I think.) The nurse had measured his head at 18.5" and the measurement was still the same as it had been for the last year.  I had the doctor remeasure and it was actually closer to 18.75".  A small difference on the measuring tape, but a HUGE difference on the growth chart.  I'm guessing at each visit he had grown and we just hadn't gotten a good measurement.  

I'm guessing he'll seem to grow up fast this summer when he gets to play outside and we are playing with the big kids all day.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

M3 - Speech

We had been wondering if M3's speech was within the normal range. Well, wondering if her ability to speak clearly was within the expected range.  She started talking with a huge vocabulary at a fairly young age.  She loves to talk and she comes up with such a variety of words, but strangers and sometimes family and friends can't make out 90% of what she says, which is what her doctor had expected at her 3 year old check-up.

When her daycare teacher asked if we had looked into getting her speech assessed it was the kick in the pants I needed.  I had been meaning to get her teacher's opinion earlier, but with the zoo of drop-off and pick-up I never remembered.

We set up an appointment through the school district and she went in for a 20 minute evaluation to see if she might need the longer assessment that would unlock speech therapy options.  The speech therapist was very nice and showed M3 some flash cards that they discussed.  They tested her at both the 3 and 4 year old levels and she is doing just fine.  The district offers a few screening days during the school year and the therapist suggest we bring her into one of those next year to make sure she is continuing to improve.  The therapist said that it is M3's varied vocabulary that might make it difficult for people to understand her.  (Probably combined with her lack of fear around strangers and constant talking - she's half way into a paragraph before she even has your full attention.)

We have all noticed that her clarity has improved in the last 6 months, but it is still reassuring to have looked into it.  She just does not say the "s" sound at all and that is a little surprising, although ok for her age.  Last week she was trying to teach M4 how to say "spoon" and it was not going well.  "It is called a oon Matthew.  Say OON if you drop your oon!"  (I handed her a fork, she handed it to him, he threw it on the floor and she switched to trying to teach him to ask for that instead.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Into the swing of the new year...

We're swimming right through 2014! I know I had several cute stories to share related to new skills the kids have picked up this year, but I started this post several days ago and the ship has sailed...

"It was boring to just watch Matthew, so I'm babysitting and knitting."

Hard at work.
M4 is fun to watch these days - always trying to play like the big kids.

Just back from a unicorn ride.

Making donuts.

More tea please.
M.G.'s first knitting project - a monkey blanket.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

M4's first haircut!

M4 was pretty skeptical about getting a haircut, but a combination of entertaining siblings and a granola bar kept him still enough.  His hair in back was so thick and shaggy - we thought evening out the top and back would look nice.

Of course he looks so much older now!  

The weather seems to have turned toward spring here.  M4 went out to play over the weekend and had a lot more fun.  He still is not very good in the boots, but at least he was giving it a shot! I found a pair of M2's old shoes and we might have M4 play outside in those instead - they won't stay pretty for long, but he could be a little more sure-footed.

Saturday, March 08, 2014


Time for a picture catch-up post! We're ready for spring here and the older 3 kids drew Spring photos to send to their great-grandparents.
I always like it when they decide to all draw the same thing. So much variation. M2 wrote a note on the back of his too and M3 can now write her name, so she wrote her name on the back of hers. I also love her intentionally squiggly rainbow - she made sure to have each color and they are each just where she wanted them.

Last weekend Papa went in to work a bit and the older two went outside to play. M2 shoveled the whole driveway and sidewalk on his own!  He worked so hard to get it done.

M2 pulled out another tooth on Tuesday. He doesn't seem to want to change where he bites food, so it really bugs him when his teeth get loose. He put a lot of effort into working that tooth for a couple days and it popped out on Tuesday.

We had about 6 inches of snow Tuesday night. While we are sick of snow, it is much nicer to look at than the gray, crusty ice that had been hanging around. The kids were glad to go out play! Due to the cold temperatures this winter, I don't think we took M4 out to play in the snow even once, so I thought I better do it on Wednesday when we had fresh snow and a fairly warm day. He was not excited about it at all!

He was tolerant as long as I held him, but if we tried to let him stand he was having none of it at all!

He has been M2's shadow lately. We can often find him trailing along behind and trying to copy whatever M2 is doing. The night that M2 was vigorously wiggling his tooth M4 was also pretending to wiggle his teeth!

M2 has been drying the dishes many nights a week. He's so cheerful about it and I'm glad for the help! A few nights ago M4 also wanted to help, so we gave him a few plastic dishes to wipe. So happy to do just what Joseph is doing! Then he and M.G. had a Monkey party and that was pretty fun too.

Reading with M3

They celebrated Dr Seuss's birthday last week at school. On Friday they could wear pajamas or they could dress up as a Seuss character. M.G. had wanted to be the Cat in the Hat like last year, but we were a little short on time. Thursday night she and M2 poured over our collection of Dr Seuss books until she came up with a better idea. She was a Truffula tree from the Lorax!

Today she participated in the Piano Festival put on by the local music teacher's association. She prepared two pieces and played them for a judge, from memory. She seemed a little nervous, but really not so much so. She did very well and was given a score of superior! The highest on the scale. (As her mom, I'm just really glad she wasn't given a "poor!")

Dance party!

Friday, March 07, 2014

M3's Movie Review: Little Mermaid

M3 was eating her "cookie Friday" cookie at the table and talking about her day:

M3: Mama, we watched Ariel at daycare today!

Me: Do you like that movie?

M3: There is an evil woman.

Me: There is, she can be kind of scary.

M3: She keeps Ariel and doesn't let her go.  Then she does let her go, but takes her tail away and makes her have legs. 

Me:  I know!  Ariel wanted legs, but what do you think, was that a good idea?

M3: She should keep her tail and stay with her family. That evil woman took Ariel's voice and instead gave her legs and then she had to go dance with a pirate.  She should keep her tail because she is a mermaid and that pirate was a boy.  And there were a lot of songs.

Me: I do like the songs from that movie.

M3: That is because the crab was playing music for them to dance.  But the crab belongs to her family and so she should just stay a mermaid and dance with her father.