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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Toddler Activity Bags

My friend Amy Elson saw a fun idea on Pinterest recently ( or  for making Toddler Activity Bags, and thought it would be fun to make an evening of it for a group of mommies to do an exchange - share activities that they have created, and get the components for fun new things to do with their kids.

Here's how it worked:  Each mom put together everything needed for one activity of their choice (hundreds of ideas available online...), and made enough sets for each mom to take one home for their kid(s).  Eight moms = eight fun new activities for entertainment and learning!  Not to mention having an evening of mommy bonding with dessert and no kids was a welcome break :)

I actually had a lot of fun looking around online at different ideas, and was inspired to try some other activities on my own that I saw on some of the crazy mommy blogger websites (the ones who seem to have endless amounts of creativity).

The activity I did was multi-faceted... I wanted something that would teach the kids some Spanish, but something that they could hold onto and keep using for a while.  The dollar store chopsticks were turned into 'fishing poles' for a game called "Pesca" (fishing), in which you put the paper clips on the animal flashcards and try to 'fish' them and practice the animal names in Spanish.  The cards could also be hole-punched with a ring to make a portable flipbook to practice the spanish animals names with - good for car rides, restaurants, or airplane travel entertainment.  Since the cards are in pairs of animals, they can also use them to play Memory or the traditional Go Fish.

When I played this with Caleb for the first time, we did it entirely in Spanish, and he was doing a great job repeating many of the animal names in Spanish as he heard me say them.  Now he is asking to play Pesca frequently :)  It was a lot of fun, and I was loving hearing him use the words in Spanish!  

(Video of Caleb playing Pesca):

Caleb has been having a lot of fun trying out each of the activities we received....

Building Sticks with velcro circles on each end
Alphabet sticks
Counting Cheerios
It was hard to keep him from eating the Cheerios before he filled the cards...  Next time we will have to try it after a meal when he isn't so hungry I guess :)
Color Sorting
Foam Stickers - what kid doesn't love stickers??
We still have a few more to do but it has been a lot of fun!  Looking forward to doing another exchange soon!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dudley the Pony

We went downtown last week to see the Budweiser Clydesdales at the Farmer's Market.  They are so big and beautiful!  Caleb wasn't too into them at first, but then we saw our Nurse Practioner and her 4 yr old daughter going to ride the ponies.  Caleb said "Go ride horsie", so we got his helmet on and chose the smallest pony, a black one named Dudley.

Caleb had fun riding him (though his lack of a smile wouldn't indicate it), mom had to sanitize her feet afterwards from walking circles in their poo, and for three days afterward he was talking about 'riding horsie' and 'what your horsie name?' (he often still refers to himself in the second person), then he repeats 'Dudley' with a big smile.  Kind of a fun name to say I guess :)

There were 8 horses all together and the carriage and driver behind them

We both look far too serious!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bubble Fun

Bubble wrap is oh-so-fun.  A big piece came in a package last week and it was the good kind - with the BIG bubbles - which Caleb had a blast jumping up and down on.  It was so loud I was waiting for a neighbor to come out and ask who had the fireworks...

Gearing up for another...

Cute and Crazy Caleb

"Go Catch Up..." - Caleb uses this expression all the time these days... Go catch up to daddy, to the truck we saw, to the tractors doing construction on Hutchins Street, to the train we just heard, to just about anyone or anything.  And of course he continues to repeat the expression until we actually do 'catch up' or I tell him why we can't catch them.

Tonight Caleb was looking at his Very Hungry Caterpillar book as I was getting his pajamas on.  He opened the book and said "One Sunday morning.... sun come up...", the he turned to his favorite page - the one with about a dozen foods that the caterpillar eats through - and proceeds to list almost all of the items he is seeing, and just the way that it is written in the book... "one slice watermelon, one piece salami, one ice cream...".

We have been missing some balls that I saw (but couldn't stop in time) Caleb put into the round opening on the front of a speaker we have in our living room.  We also haven't seen Percy the train for several months, so I wondered if perhaps he had been stuck inside of the speaker too...  Well, when we took off the back of the speaker to look inside, we found the balls, Percy, and....

...yes, ALL of this was inside of our speaker!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Landon at 9 months

Landon turned 9 months old this week.  When I went in to get him from his late afternoon nap I saw that he had figured out how to reach up to the crib rail and pull himself up to stand.  Looks like its time to lower the crib!

How I found him after nap on Tuesday... (crib still raised)
The next day... (Crib lowered!) 
He was so excited and proud of himself that he was doing this all by himself!

Caleb loves it when Landon loves on him

Landon has taken just a couple of 'steps' crawling (in the traditional form, not scooting like Caleb did :)). He definitely has that frustration of wanting to go.  He does know how to go left and right, and sometimes can inch his way forward a bit on his belly, enough to reach a toy, but other than that we have only seen two steps at a time before plopping on his belly again.

He is loving chewing table food now, and has started to figure out how to do the pincher fingers to pick  little pieces up.  Some new additions include bread, plums, cheese, pieces of banana (wouldn't do the real thing mashed up), diced carrots, and of course, the beloved Cheerios.  Great for keeping him entertained for a few minutes so we can eat, too!

Still no teeth...  Although it seems he might crawl and walk sooner than Caleb, he seems to be on track to be late with the teeth like big brother was (11 months).

Landon used his first sign last week!  I have only been teaching him 'more' and 'all done', which I started around 6 months.  He has started to use the sign for more, tapping his two fists together with his thumbs on top.  It took me a few times before I realized what he was doing, but I was so excited to see him doing it at this age since we didn't start teaching Caleb any signs until he was older.

This was a couple of weeks ago... Sturdy enough to hold himself there briefly.

This afternoon Landon crawled about 7 steps all by himself, and has done it several times now since then.... More pictures and video to follow.... :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Day Out With Thomas - Their first train ride

Yes, this is one 'first' that Landon and Caleb got to share!  We took the kids to Felton (near Santa Cruz) last weekend to ride Thomas the Train (a cartoon series, if you aren't familiar with him), and met our friends Bassel, Maya, and Mazen (Caleb's age) Mardini there as well.  It was a very fun day....

We met Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway of Sodor (Thomas' home)

Caleb had so much fun playing inside of this kid-sized barn
The guest of honor...
On the train before we started our ride

(Video: Our train ride, in Caleb's words):

Napless, but happy as usual :)

What a goofy look, Landon...

Bubbles are great, and even better when you have a big wand to dip and wave around!
Going to have to get a few of these...

(Video of Jimmy, Caleb, Bassel, and Mazen playing with the bubbles):

Landon at 8 months

Getting close to crawling, but hasn't yet figured out how to make those legs and hands move at the same time.  

Ok we're up on all fours...

Darn it, back down again...  How does this crawling thing work??

Oh the frustration!  I want to go!!!

And showing some interest in trying to take steps...

Weighing in at the shoppe... 21 lbs.

Just learned to clap his hands...