Rainy Day Fun

We had a wonderful rainy day today, and found some fun inside and outside.

1. A Hallway Obstacle Course:

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2. Puddle and Mud Play:

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and, 3. a Dance-a-thon:

2013_5_28 dance

Though to be fair, we dance almost every day, rain or shine! The children also did yoga (it is so cute to see the toddler doing yoga right alongside her big sisters), I exercised to a kick-box dvd, and we all enjoyed many books together too.

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A Photo Can Be Deceiving…

TheLipperLoppyLife: Running with Kids-in-Tow

TheLipperLoppyLife: Running with Kids-in-Tow

Do you see a difference between these two photos? They both appear to be the same: me running while pushing the jogging stroller (with two kids in it) and the eldest kid riding her bike up ahead, on a beautiful day in a beautiful setting.

WRONG! Well, almost. Both photos were taken at an idyllic moment, but the photo on the left turned out to be a “run from hell” while the photo on the right remained a wonderful time for all.

You see, the first photo was the first run/bike of the week, in a canyon that had a slight incline that I was unaware of. I really thought that my difficulty in pushing the stroller was just my out-of-shape body, especially because it seemed the 6-year-0ld had no problems biking up ahead. But when we turned around, because of my desperation, I suddenly discovered that I could run with ease (being downhill now) and that the 6-year-old was not at all ready for riding her bike down any hill, no matter how gentle the slope. She started crying and complaining about not getting to ride in the stroller. I alternated between running a little bit, and then parking the stroller and helping bring the bike back down. She was still crying by the time we made it back to the car, now with an audience of other bikers and hikers. I am glad that I am at the point in parenthood where I do not get embarrassed about my kids’ behavior in public. It doesn’t stress me out, I just chuckle silently to myself about my predicament and resolve it as best as I can. Those years with child#2 as a toddler have really trained me well!

The second photo (right) was taken a few days later, when we went to a park with a FLAT running track. I tired out sooner than the 6-year-old, but was worried about pushing my luck (with the 6-year-old, and a little bit with myself), so I kept the run to under 15 minutes. When we finished, she did make a complaint about not getting to ride the stroller, but I just reminded her how much she loves to ride her bike. Then we went to the pond in the park and spotted goslings as well as ducklings. So cute! First time the girls got to see goslings. It was a great start to the day!

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Finding the Joy When Overtired

I had grand plans to leave the house early this morning for a hike in millcreek canyon. But with the toddler fussily sleeping last night, AND my husband leaving his alarm on for twenty minutes (while I had the toddler glued to my breast and unable to turn it off), well, I did not get restful sleep. After the girls woke up as usual around 7, I tried to take a little nap to catch up. But today was one of those days when the two eldest girls could Not.Stop.Bickering. I resorted to letting them watch a tv show, but I seriously only found an extra 10 minutes. So I eventually crawled out of bed, and expected the day to SUCK.

But to my surprise, after breakfast, I was feeling pretty good! Maybe it’s the nice spring weather? I wasn’t sure I would be up for hiking, though, so I decided to start with a little speech practice first. C (the 4-year-old) is now taking a speech class through the school district, so both her and M need to practice at home. (Actually, C always wanted to practice speech whenever I was working with M, so it works out well.) Today we played a hide-and-seek game; I just wanted a quick, fun practice session. I hid their target word cards in the dark playhouse, they used a flashlight to find the cards, and then had to practice repetitions of the target words. This activity would work well for practicing sight words, or math equations, or whatever your child might be working on. It’s fun! Sometime I need to do it at night throughout the house (or in a dark basement if we ever have one).

hunting target words for speech practice

hunting target words for speech practice

While one child was doing the speech activity, the other was playing with a flannel board that I recently threw together with stuff laying around the house (I have every intention to make a big flannel board, but decided to just use what I had already for right now). The felt cupcakes were made from this tutorial. The toddler was content to play with an extra flashlight and run around.

making cupcakes on the flannel board

making cupcakes on the flannel board

The girls were still bickering a lot. The girls get along really well and play together so much, but some days, it seriously feels like they just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Today was one of those days. We needed to get out of dodge. And I was still feeling pretty good, so I decided that we could still make time for a little hiking. Millcreek Canyon is a 3 minute drive from our home (to the first trails, anyway), and on odd-days like today, dogs can be off-leash. (We are so going to miss this natural resource when we move away. We have not found such great dog hiking, so close to home, in the other cities that we have lived in.) We got dressed as quickly as possible, and endured some bickering on the drive there, but the hike was peaceful. Just what we all needed!

Pipeline Trail

Pipeline Trail.

After returning home and eating lunch, M practiced piano. We recently started a practice chart; the goal is to have a weekly lesson (I am the piano teacher) and at least 3 practice times during the week. M puts a sticker on her chart each time she has a lesson and/or practices. She has learned quarter and half notes, and can play a few basic songs, although she isn’t reading the music; the notes are numbered to match her fingers.

piano practice

piano practice

When M was done, C played on the piano and M played some more with the flannel board. I put the toddler down for her nap. Bickering bubbled up again, so after nursing the toddler down, M and I practiced reading while C played. M has been reading the books from the Usborne Very First Reading series. This series has been so helpful for her. M is intimidated with reading a whole book by herself, and the Usborne stories are shared reading with an adult; one page the adult reads and the next page the child reads, etc. As the series continues, the difficulty level increases and there is less adult-reading. At the end of each book are quizzes, and there are extra activities (worksheets and word cards) available online. The set is pricey, but well worth it! Reading is extra difficult for M, because of her apraxia, but she is doing well. I’m starting to wonder if she might be dyslexic (it is common with kids that have apraxia), so that will be something we need to figure out this coming year. When she trips over a word, it’s hard to separate out if it’s because of her speech or if there is an added complication. (By the way, I love my local Usborne consultant, and we get a lot of our educational resource books from Usborne; if you need a consultant, I highly recommend her!)

Usborne My Very First Reading

Usborne My Very First Reading

Then it was time for speech class for M. Of course, we take time to marvel at the daffodils!

always take time to stop and smell the flowers!

always take time to stop and smell the flowers!

When we got home, M finished the big floor safari puzzle she had started just before speech class, and then joined the rest of us outside. I enjoyed working on this post, sipping my iced mocha, and listening to the house finches singing and the children playing. Porter enjoyed the sun too.

blogging outside

blogging outside

And, our day isn’t yet over! We still have to make our homemade BBQ chicken pizza (well, the BBQ sauce isn’t homemade; I need to figure that out!) and the big girls have ice skating class tonight. I’m surprised that I am still going strong, and that the only bickering today has been from the children and NOT me (usually when I’m overtired I find it difficult not to snap). I am looking forward to having the house to myself tonight (with the toddler too) for some quiet relaxation though! I have been so blessed today that we all found the joy!

A Creative Morning

creative play

creative play

…Puppet theater play, homemade play-dough monster creations, 3-D puppet creations, and animal play…all perfectly accompanied with cookies and coffee.

yum!

yum!

Distracted Baking

Flat muffins. This is what happens when baking powder and baking soda are left out of a muffin recipe. I’m not that great of a baker, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that this happened to me. And of course, this wasn’t a baking moment with the children, though they were my main distraction. I would also like to place some of the blame on the recipe itself, a blogger’s recipe in which the dry and wet ingredients were all over the place, instead of in order of use. The muffins did still taste good to the girls; they barely lasted a day. And this morning I had to redeem myself and baked another batch of muffins (from a different recipe), with all three girls helping as well. Those turned out perfect, beautiful, and yummy.

flat muffins

flat muffins

Our Natural Learning Day…Yesterday

 

I tried my best to get this post written yesterday, as it is about yesterday, but…we all know blogging is not high on the priority list!

So, yesterday was full of natural learning exploration. The day had a lazy start; the toddler has had nights recently with an hour of nursing, tossing, kicking and hitting me, and nursing, so I’ve been waking up extra tired, and yesterday was no exception. I almost feel like she’s a newborn with my recent lack of sleep! We needed to go to the grocery store that day, so I asked the girls if they wanted to go in the morning or after speech class, and they chose to go after speech, because they wanted to keep playing that morning. Fine by me, as I got to stay in my pj’s longer and take my time.

We made waffles and spinach-fruit smoothies for breakfast. I love when we can start the day with a filling yummy breakfast! The girls spent most of the morning in free play, some of what I saw was: making a “collection” of animals (according to M, a collection is something that you look at and keep), cushion jumping in the living room,  and doll house play.

The "Animal Collection"

The “Animal Collection”

I will spare you a picture of what my couch looked like when the cushions were removed! Time to vacuum!

I will spare you a picture of what my couch looked like when the cushions were removed! Time to vacuum!

M initiated reading practice. She picked out one of her reading books (I will write a post about these reading books another time) and read some of the book with me. She is getting so excited about her reading ability! C requested that we finish the last country in their culture sticker book (Nigeria) so we did that next.

We ate a yummy lunch of sandwiches, veggies, and fruit, and then had quiet time (toddler nap time). M and C chose to watch a Jeff Corwin animal show. The girls wanted an episode on Western Africa (since we just talked about Nigeria), but instead we found an episode on Nepal. I was only able to watch the end of the show (as I had been nursing the toddler to sleep) so I only caught a bit about elephant midwives (birth and babies is a popular topic in this household, both for the girls and me).

Then we brought a little springtime inside with flower paper roll painting. M discovered that you need to press down on the petal flaps to get a good print. M also decided to add stems and leaves with her fingers, and eventually we got out a few brushes to paint the centers of the flowers. C quickly turned the activity into a tactile one and just spread the paint all over with her hands. How great that must have felt!

Flower Paper Roll Painting

Flower Paper Roll Painting

Then we cleaned up quickly and went to speech. We have both a new graduate student clinician (we get a new one every semester) and a new faculty supervisor, who is the school’s expert on Apraxia. She is trained in Prompt Therapy (only SLP in Utah with Prompt training) and I’m just so excited to finally have her in charge of M’s therapy (previously she had been consulting our supervisor). The classes just started this week, and they are still just collecting language samples and figuring out what they want to target.

After speech we all went to the grocery store, scoring the only 3-child-cart. I had a huge list to get through, so I bribed the kids with a cookie from the bakery. But it was a successful trip (seriously, its the little things, right?)

When we got home, the girls had more free play, including: looking at a Native American book (M noticed that they carried baskets on their heads); art; more reading practice for M (she found CVC words in a chapter book that she could read); looking at more books; and of course, dance time in the living room.

A winter storm was beginning, so I cooked up leftover chili from the freezer and cheddar biscuits for dinner. Dad left work too late and got stuck in the storm (his front-wheel drive work truck can not make it up into our neighborhood on the bench of the mountain in snowy weather). He parked his truck pretty far away (about 20 minute walk in the snow), so we drove out to pick him up. He did not want us to get him, worrying about a car sliding into us, but it was a short drive and it meant we would all be home sooner to eat our yummy dinner.
After dinner we played board games, card games, and puzzles before bedtime. I was able to keep up with laundry and dishes, and we all went to bed with every room in the home clean (well except the office which is a disaster right now with moving boxes). The girls have been very helpful lately with keeping things picked up…I think we are finally running a smooth household routine!

Today in Pictures

7:30 am: Morning TV
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8:30 am: Breakfast of Spinach fruit smoothie, eggs and toast.

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9:30 am: Gymnastics (I was too busy chasing the toddler to remember to take a photo.)
10:30 am: Fabric store hell. At least M could read the name of the store, and we did survive the long search for fabric and long wait to cut said fabric.

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12:30 pm: Bleeding Baby. 😦 It’s amazing how much blood comes from a bit lip! And how scary it is for a parent to see.

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1:00 pm: More math play.

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*On the drive to speech, we were listening to an Aladdin song. I explained that Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love (the girls haven’t seen this movie yet). M mentions, again, how she married Jasmine and Aladdin. C tells M, “Mama says that Aladdin and Jasmine got inside love!”

2:00 pm: Speech class for M.

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3:30 pm: Neighborhood walk to find bird nests.

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*M says, “Mama, there are two different kinds of pine cones!” And C says, “There are so many different trees in our neighborhood!”

4:30 pm: I’m crying on the couch and M is crying in her bedroom. Immediately when we got to our driveway after our pleasant walk, M got angry and wouldn’t come inside. We have family safety rules about front yard play, and now was not an option. And frankly, I was hurt that she would treat me this way after our nice nest-finding walk that she has been begging me to do this week. Her outburst only happened because she was tired. But boy, parenting can be so tough! I’m glad that I at least kept my cool, but I feel so drained at the moment, and I still have two more days before Dada is back home.

Breathe.

(I actually am feeling much better now, and I’m sure a delish comfort-food dinner will help in my restoration as well. And maybe a shower too!)

Today in Pictures

7 am: made their bed before going to watch television…what??

8 am: french toast breakfast

9 am: M decides to write math equations while I style her hair; C draws a picture of M in a tall birthday hat while I do her hair

10 am

11 am: I got to sneak in a catnap with the toddler while the big girls played together
12 pm: lunch, reading Pippi Longstocking
1 pm: quiet book time

2 pm: speech class
3 pm: purchase Thanksgiving turkey from local farm

4 pm: magnet dolls, drawing

5 pm: follow the sister, M and C going on a treasure hunt



6 pm: chicken kale enchilada dinner
7 pm: pajama movie time

snow!

Halloween Decorating

Yesterday, the girls went crazy decorating our home for Halloween. They claim they have made it into a Haunted House. I didn’t even photograph everything, just a few areas, and more decorations keep popping up. M taught C how to make a ghost — so sweet. We are waiting for the weekend (when the rain/snow will be over) to turn our front door into a monster face. The skeletons are a craft by my friend, who did most of the cutting and sent us home with the goodies. We still need to paint/carve our pumpkins. The girls have also decided to don pillow cases as ghosts and scare Daddy every night he comes home. Every. Night. Needless to say, they are enjoying themselves and are excited for Halloween!

  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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