Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cousin Time!

This past week we were in Brownsville, TN for the funeral of Big Philip's great aunt Anne. Aunt Anne lived next door to the Mosses and was a dear sweet woman. Funerals in Philip's family are a mixture of sadness and happiness because it brings the family together. For this funeral, I was able to meet all the Chapman cousins I'd not met before. It was a lot of fun to see all of our little ones playing with their little ones. Big Philip had to go to Starkville for orientation so I decided to stay a few extra days to visit with family and let Little Philip get a really big "cousin fix" before heading home again. Helen and her cousin Amy were so sweet together!

And Little Philip finally got to go into the hen house at the Moss Farm and gather eggs like his cousins. He was very sad last time we were in town that the rain kept us from doing this so it was a huge thrill for him to see where eggs come from!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Teaching Two Year Olds

Lately, I find it difficult to come up with new topics to post on our blog. I would love to simply tell you stories that we find exciting but make you fall asleep about all that our little ones are up to these days but again, it is rarely earth shattering. There is one funny that comes to mind. You might find it humorous to know that Little Philip came out of his speech therapy session today having asked Miss Taryn to draw repeatedly draw "poo poo." This request she politely declined. Aah, the imagination of a three year old.

Did I mention that I am going back to work part-time? I will be teaching the 2K classroom at a local church here in Birmingham starting in June. I am super excited and have lots of fun ideas. Some people think I'm crazy going from working with college aged students to two year olds but I assure them I'm now adeptly skilled to make the switch. Really there are many similarities that come to mind but I will save those for June when I actually begin teaching. Little Philip and Helen will be joining me two days each week this summer in their own classrooms. Helen will greatly benefit from being away from her mama and socializing. Little Philip absolutely craves any classroom setting so our family will benefit tremendously all around from me working. The little that will be left after paying their tuition will still provide some much needed funds to our monthly budget. To answer the question many may have - yes, I really want to go back to work. I miss doing something outside the home and my inability to sleep some nights when a fun craft or activity pops in my head lets me know just how much I am "wired" to work outside the home.

So here is where you all come in. I am open to ideas from all you parents, babysitters, aunts, uncles, etc., out there of current or past two year olds. What are some of the learning milestones you would hope a preschool or mother's day out program would help you accomplish for your little ones? Favorite crafts or keepsakes for that age? And before anyone else mentions it, I am well aware of the potty training at this age. I'll have my rubber gloves ready.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen!

Happy Easter everyone! We just returned from spending Easter weekend in Mobile with our family. Little Philip ate hard boiled eggs for the first time, and second, and third, and... Let's just say we need to stay outdoors a lot tomorrow or else we may have quite the gas leak in the house. We know he ate at least three but we lost sight of him when he ran off with some cousins while mommy had her a bloody mary. Helen was adorable and we were able to get some new pictures with her and Grandmother Wettermark, her namesake.
We also went "across the bay" (translation -driving from Mobile to Daphne/Fairhope) and visited with Memaw and Papa Julian.
The Easter bunny was in full force this year, and both children have consumed their weight in jellybeans, chocolate bunnies, and who knows what else our well meaning aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents slipped them while visiting.

The last time we had this much candy was Christmas so we'll have to ration it appropriately in a different way this time. We used each piece as incentive for potty training at Christmas time. Any suggestions from you all for a new developmental milestone?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Independent Little One

Philip and I get the shivers when we think about how strong willed Helen is, knowing that if this is a twelve month old's determination, what will she be like at sixteen? She communicates so well, but only because it gets her exactly what she wants, which is usually more food. She signs for "more" and "please" and shakes her head yes and no. When she is really hungry and unwilling to sign patiently, she wags her head and sticks her tongue out, smacking her lips, releasing intermittent outburst and yelps until she gets whatever it is she wants in her mouth. And here is the really frightening part. Do you see what she wanted to chew on this particular evening?

That right there is Mama's t-bone, or what was left of it after I devoured it. Yep, she is definitely her mother's child. Guys, she's going to be an expensive date.

Soccer Update

Well, it's week four of soccer in the books and Little Philip has improved...a little. He still has trouble staying focused and in the game which is, well, everything. You may recall that his first week he stayed planted in the same place staring up at the sky screaming "I SEE THE MOON!" This week, when his team kicked off to the other team, he stayed put screaming "THE CLOUDS ARE MOVING!" A few more weeks to go and we are hoping for a miracle.

Just in case soccer doesn't take, we are introducing baseball as a suitable alternative. Tonight Daddy took son to the MSU vs. UAB baseball game. Both daddy and son were decked out in maroon and white and Little Philip was excited to eat some stadium dogs and cheer on the dawgs. Daddy returned with footage of the experience, which lasted one inning before heading home.

The focus on the game is incredible, isn't it? "Don't look down" -- Down at what?!

Friday, April 03, 2009

My Dream is Shattered

I have a secret. I think I can cook but can't. I secretly dream of having a really cool apron hand sewn by me, made of Amy Butler bright and colorful fabric that I wear on the Food Network, for my very own show that has rave ratings. In reality, I can't even make a Bisquick recipe of the box.
For our church small group dinner this week my friend, Sarah, made hot, fresh out of the oven shortbread using the Bisquick recipe. Tonight, I tried to make the same recipe since Publix had strawberries, 3 quarts for $5. Here is what the shortbread was supposed to look like.
And here is what my shortbread looked like. Feel free to start singing the "One of these things is not like the other" song from Sesame Street. We are talking about three ingredients here: 1 cup of Bisquick, 2 T. sugar, 1/3 cup milk. Spoon it onto a baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. How did I mess this up?

Maybe it was my hasty attempt to put this together in between bathing the kids and myself for the evening before the big storm hit? (notice the wet hair and lack of make up in the picture). While I have shared with you my secret dream, I will also share with you my secret nightmare. It is to be dead asleep in a ratty sorority t-shirt from the early 90's and a pair of hubby's worn out boxers and to find myself tossed into a tree from a tornado. Then, CNN comes to film the aftermath and I'm up in that tree, screaming bloody murder in a deep Southern accent, dressed in a now wet t-shirt and men's boxers, making Alabama proud on national television.

So while my shortbread was a flop, I went to bed last night showered and clean, in real pajamas...just in case.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I Spy Bottle

I can't claim original thought for this one but I also can't figure out where I originally found this idea. I think it was on my new favorite children's craft blog The Crafty Crow but I can't be certain. It is an I Spy bottle. One 2 liter coke bottle, lots of rice and whatever little thingamabops you can find around the house. Little Philip picked some foam letters and shapes from an old craft bag consisting of a blue dolphin, a yellow letter M, and an orange giraffe. He also picked a brass button, a black and white cloth button, a wrench, green crayon, black spider, blue butterfly, die cut red apple, die cut grey starfish, a screw. a penny, a marble we found in the yard while uprooting tree roots, a matchstick, safety pin, rubber bands, silver washer, and a greenish pebble. We could have put so much more in but we decided that was enough. Simply hot glue, super glue, or something-stronger-than-Elmer's glue it shut with the bottle cap. A smaller version with a water bottle is also convenient for road trips but we've given up bottled water and did not have any little bottles to use. Little Philip has a lot of fun spinning his I Spy bottle around, finding all of the items, squealing with delight when he spots what he set out to find.

The highlight for me had to be this:

Because you know mommy intentionally put that in there.

Space & Rocket Center

Daddy was supposed to go camping this past Friday night but there was guaranteed bad weather that night. He had already claimed a vacation day from work so instead, we all went to Huntsville Space & Rocket Center. Our admission per person would have about $20 each but since we are members of the McWane Science Center here in Birmingham, we all got in for free! Truth be told, Little Philip was too young to really enjoy the exhibits. Online, it looked like there was a great hands-on exhibit for children but when we arrived, that exhibit had been dismantled. I wanted to say "can't you at least have a dress up section for the kids to put on the space suit?!" It was fascinating from an adult perspective to see pieces of old shuttles, engines, rockets, moon landers, etc., but Little Philip much preferred the "Energy Depletion Zone" which was about the same thing as a McDonald's indoor playground. Daddy rode the ride called the Space shot that "shot" him straight up in the air to simulate a space launch. We enjoyed watching him from below while we munched on goldfish.

I have to say that on the way there we stopped at Chik-fil-A in Huntsville. Maybe everyone else knows this already but I"ll say it anyway. They are so family friendly! As soon as we arrived, the manager came out and helped me roll a high chair by the outdoor playground for Helen. She brought us plastic placemats that stick to the tables for the kids and her staff come out with cloths to dry off the wet parts of the outdoor play equipment. At the end of our meal, she stopped by again and gave the children Chik-Fil-A cows. It is such a change from the usual meal where Mom barely eats anything, let alone anything hot after feeding everyone else!