Thursday, May 31, 2012

Double Double!


 This morning the girls and I attended our first Identical Twins playdate! It was so much fun seeing all the matching pairs! I'm working on getting all the names of the twins in this photo... this morning was quite chaotic at the mall and I did not get to talk to all the moms, some of which I've never met before. So far from top to bottom I have Misty Lewin and her boys Dawson and Dylan, Grace Tobias, Christy Cooper and her girls Mallory and Marlo, Luisa's boys Mason and Dax (not sure who is who yet). Still need the name of the mom in the middle with the two cute boys in white shirts, Amanda Jones with her boys Logan and Luke. Their older brother, Peyton is watching from the side. Next is my girls Maddie and Izzie. Amy Locke is sitting with Elle and Sydney. Her older son, Aaron is in the red shirt at her feet. Regan Schiestel is with her girls sitting next to Kim Bagley and her twins Claire and Keely. Not pictured is Nicole Croone with her boys. Luisa (and her younger boy Alex) and I were taking the photos. I'll update as I get names!

 Izzie!
Maddie!

Photo Catch Up

 Maddie swimming at Grandma and Grandpas house this past Memorial Day.

 Izzie and Maddie
 Maddie, Izzie and Sabrina.

 Maddie playing her iPad on the stairs.

 Izzie was laying in bed playing with her iPad.

Izzie sounding out words in her latest reading lesson.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Photo Series - Making a Flower Cake

 Izzie holding up a magic wand made from a stem with a flower on top. Maddie had a Stick sword and she couldn't find one. So she said she'd fight the "monsters" with a magic wand instead!

 Cheese.
 Making a cake.
 Adding a bit of this and that.
 Stir in the ingredients.

 Run to go get more ingredients
 check your work, see what might be missing

 Hunting for supplies.

 Maddie with her sword.

 I'm not sure what this face was in response too!

 I found some "chocolate!"

 Adding it in one bit a time.

 Look what I found mom!

More good finds.

 Hunting

 working hard.

 Flowers "taste" good.


 stir, stir, stir

 The cake is DONE!

Now they told me they are "Ballerina Princess Chefs" Of course!

Napping in the... pool?

Maddie and Izzie in their new swimming pool. I was in the kitchen and I hear Maddie say, "Come here mom, we look sooo cute, you're gonna want to bring your camera!" They were right! Love my girls!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Clean Up War

Mark yesterday down in the calendar as one of the hardest parenting days I've had thus far. I'd like to note it, because when the girls turn 15 or 16 and I have a REALLY hard parenting day, I'd like to look back at this one and laugh. Really.

It all started simply enough. The girls didn't clean up on Wednesday night and we ran out of time so I told them that the next morning after breakfast they would need to go clean up the family room before we got to do anything else for the day. The family/toy room wasn't THAT messy, but it still need straightening up. Especially since they led me to believe they had cleaned it Wednesday and I never went and double checked until it was bedtime. Thus started the war.

Both girls said they just weren't going to clean. Fine. John and I said they could stay up stairs until it was cleaned up. The minutes ticked away on the clock. A little before lunch time, I told them if it wasn't cleaned before lunch they'd loose an App on their iPad. No biggie they said. They filed down the stairs for lunch where I made them eat in silence. John uninstalled Curious George, one of their favorites. They ate and went back upstairs. And promptly continued ignoring us. Late afternoon, I called my mom in supreme frustration. She came over to see if she could talk to them and see what the big deal was. Why they were just flat out refusing to clean. They sometimes delay, whine, refuse for short periods of time, but this was beyond anything we'd ever experienced.

Mom talked to them and got them to clean their bedroom (which over the course of the morning they had gotten messy.) Finally a bit before 5, I decided to call a truce. I told the girls to go outside and play until dinner time. After dinner they were only allowed to color or read books. (I had a dinner with a friend, so I ended up abandoning John at this point.) Luckily the entire day they were extremely pleasant. Just pleasantly refusing to clean up. John fed them and sent them to bed after a very boring evening.

Today I took them over to my moms house and then I got to work. I cleaned up the family room from top to bottom. I spent 3.5 hours sorting, trashing and stowing away toys. I threw away a huge trashbag of broken toys, paper and odds and ends. I rounded up over half of their toys and stacked them neatly in the guest room, which is now locked. They are left with: the dollhouse, their snap girls, limited kitchen toys, a third of their dress up clothes, wooden blocks, plastic animal figures, dolls and half their stuffed animals. (This is upstairs toys, downstairs they still have all their books, coloring books, paint supplies, playdoh, etc.) I also left out legos, but put them up high and for now can only play with them if John is playing with them. I also left out a sensory tub of beans but they are also up high and have to be "checked" out. One note, I did a deep cleaning, it would have only taken them about 10 -15 minutes to do the straightening up I was asking them to do.

The family room looks smashing now. It is a space that is inviting and doesn't feel cluttered. I'm not even 100% sure that the rest of the toys will ever come back. Maybe a few, but I really like the simplicity of what I have going on now. I think too much stimulation was causing them not to want to play with anything in depth. Now they'll have to use a bit more imagination to create fun. I joked with my mom that tomorrow they aren't going to be allowed to play in there, only sit and marvel at the cleanliness of the room!

When I went to pick the girls up after all my hard work, we all ended up in Mom's swimming pool for the afternoon. I told the girls since I spent the day doing their job, that I didn't have time to do my job so they weren't going to get dinner tonight. They didn't really like that, so Maddie suggested we go out to dinner. I told her that wasn't a solution that worked for me. I told her that I suppose she could have some leftover soup for dinner. We had a fun time in the pool. The girls put on their puddle jumpers and were paddling themselves all around the pool. I have a feeling this summer is going to be much more fun as far as swimming goes!

After swimming, we came home and soup did not really sound great to me, since I'd actually eaten some of it for lunch today. Teasing the girls, I asked, "Do you guys want leftover vegetable soup or pancakes and eggs for dinner?" Of course they chose pancakes so I did end up whipping up a fast little breakfast dinner for everyone. After dinner I took the girls up to the family room and showed them all my hard work. They were actually very happy at the room. They said it looked so pretty. They gave me big hugs and kisses. And they were worried about some of their toys, I think they were just happy that I didn't take them all away!

What a crazy couple of days it's been!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ice Cube Tray Lunch

  So what do you do when you really need to go to the grocery store at lunch time? There is one sad hot dog staring at you, and a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing really to make a LUNCH?  Make an ICE CUBE TRAY lunch! It makes things SO much more exciting. Chopsticks would have been a fun touch but I didn't think of that in time. Other ideas would be: hard boiled egg, pickles, olives, carrot, shredded chicken... the list can go on. And the surprising thing was this didn't take hardly any more time to throw together than what I normally make for the girls. And they did have fun with it! With every bite they were announcing what they were going to eat next, and next.

 Izzie
Maddie

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reading


I recently got this book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons from Amazon. I was excited to jump right in and try it on the girls. Today we finished lesson 12. The first two days we did 2 lessons, one in the morning and one in the evening, but other than that we've been doing one lesson a day. The lessons are very short, which is great for a four year old. They slowly, very very slowly start in with introducing one sound. But it builds confidence (because the student can easily learn that one sound for the lesson) and it teaches the method of the book.

Today, like I said, we did lesson 12. They each read: Seed, Sam, Rat, Me, Eat and Seat on their own. They could NOT do that 10 days ago! With these lessons I'm working with each girl individually. I want to make sure they are getting it completely without sissy helping. I did do one lesson together, but decided that it is best to do them separately. With Izzie, I have to go very slow and build up her confidence. When she first sees a word she balks and says "I can't read that!" But we take it one letter at a time and then she reads the word and is SO proud. It's coming a bit easier for Maddie, but Maddie cannot sit still and focus. Actually both girls have a hard time sitting still for the entire lesson but Maddie's attention wanders much more easily. But keeping in mind that they are just 4, I think it's okay that they are wiggly during lessons that are obviously challenging them.

I'm excited for tomorrows lesson where they get to read their first sentence. See me eat. This book even focuses on reading comprehension. After reading their first sentence they get to look at a photo of a boy eating. They then will answer questions about the "story." What is the boy doing? Do you think he likes to eat? What do you see in the picture that shows he likes to eat? What is he eating? What do you like to eat? I think it's great that the lessons build in reading comprehension at a very early stage of reading.

Anyway, even though we are only 12 lessons into the book, so far I'm really liking it and I'm seeing success in my girls. I'm so proud at how hard they are working at learning to read!

puzzles

Izzie and Maddie working on a puzzle together.


Friends

Bunny and Teddy are not normally allowed downstairs.... but the girls have found a loophole by keeping them on the stairs.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Seriousness of socks

Getting the girls ready for bed and Maddie requests I pick out some socks for her. I saw two mismatched pink socks and pulled them out asking her if she wanted "funny" socks. She looks at them and squinted her eyes and took a moment to think about it hard. Then says very slowly, "Yes, I think I can make that work."

I almost cracked up laughing!

Heard Museum

John and I took the girls to the Heard Museum for the first time today. We weren't sure what to expect and I got very mixed reviews. Half my friends love it the other half were less than impressed. So I wanted to check it out and form my own opinion. My first impression is that it has potential. Next time I'll know to bring stuff to do. Like a nature bingo or science sketch book. There is an indoor part that has a bunch of still scenes and a few wild animals. There were lots of geodes and a dinosaur skull. The girls really liked being able to see the real honey hive. Outside we walked through the butterfly gardens which was pretty cool and there was another wild animal mini-zoo. Other than that there was lots of beautiful walking trails. But it was pretty warm outside with no breeze and my girls turned into puddles of whine. They were "SOOOOO" tired of walking. The place would have been stroller friendly if you had a outdoor jogging stroller, but at 4, I think they were capable of walking.

Izzie pulled a fit this morning and did not want to wear her tennis shoes. I decided to take a page out of Love and Logic and let her experience sandals on her own. We told her that the walking paths would have rocks and she doesn't like rocks in her sandals. She still was insistent. After stopping every few feet she did say to us that next time she'd listen when we suggested what shoes might be best.

We also had a picnic, which was very pleasant in the shade. Overall I really thought the place had potential. I think getting a membership would be a better deal, specially since it teams up with the Dallas Science Museum. I had fun watching the bugs out on the trail (I found a HUGE spider!) and I love walking through forested areas. I think the girls were just wanting more action. 

 Daddy and Izzie looking at a live bee hive.



 Izzie

 Maddie watching the bees with Daddy