Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ball boy

Jude loves to play ball. And we're not just talking catch. The kid likes to dunk:

And kick:

And swing:

As you can see, he's even got built-in cheerleaders!

Now if only he could learn to refrain from hogging the ball ... the rest of the squad likes to play once in a while, too!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Good neighbors

This morning I took the kids to a splash park for the first time. Whenever we do something new, I have concerns about whether I can keep everyone safe and in line, but today I wasn't too worried. After all, a friend had invited us to meet her there (so I knew I would have a pair of back-up eyes and hands), and she had assured me that it was entirely fenced-in, with only one opening (so I knew I wouldn't have to monitor multiple points of exit).

And everything did go fine ...

Fun at the splash park!

 ... until we decided to have lunch. At that point, the girls followed me to a nearby picnic table to get dried off while my friend made sandwiches. Isaac was not far behind. I saw that Jude was still playing in the water, so I decided to let him have fun while I got the other kids settled. The next thing I knew, a lady was tapping me on the shoulder, saying, "The kid who is wearing exactly what he [points to Isaac] is wearing is outside the fence!"

Sure enough, I looked up to see that, during the short amount of time that I was drying off the other kids, Jude had exited the park, walked along the fence (next to the parking lot!), and ended up in the grass near the playground, on the opposite side of the splash park from the picnic tables. He was standing there all alone, looking very small and helpless. Supremely embarrassed and more than a little bit horrified, I thanked the woman, left the other kids with my friend, and ran to retrieve my boy.

Safe and sound!

Turns out Jude realized that none of us were in the sprinklers anymore, and—even though we were just a few steps away at the picnic table—he thought we'd gone back to the car and went looking for us. The woman who alerted me to his escape was at the park with seven kids of her own to keep track of, just happened to notice during a head count that one of mine was outside the perimeter of the park, and cared enough to let me know right away. Now that's what I'd call a good neighbor!

Incidentally, our literal neighbors have been pretty good to us this summer, too. Already we've enjoyed one's playroom and bouncy house, another's hand-me-down clothes, another's sprinkler and water table, and yet another's amazing trampoline:

Thank you, God, for good neighbors!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

We all scream for "ice cream"

A few days ago, the same show that gave the kids the idea to make a pie inspired them to start asking if we could go to an ice cream shop. Not one to ever turn down a chance to eat ice cream, Mommy said YES!

We waited until Saturday so that Daddy could go with us. And don't tell the kids, but we didn't actually go to an ice cream shop—we went to a frozen yogurt shop. The kids loved watching Daddy operate the self-serve soft-serve machines:

We got two big bowls of frozen yogurt to share: one with chocolate and vanilla, and the other with passion fruit and pineapple. At Jude's request, both were topped with a generous helping of maraschino cherries. We sat down to eat our treat in the fun orange and white chairs—one for each kid!

Dahlia, Lucy, and Jude loved their "ice cream," but Isaac was not a fan:

He much preferred reading the sign: "Orange! Weaf! Yogurt!"

The frozen yogurt was good, but I think next time we'll try a frozen custard place (that's Mommy's favorite kind of ice cream). And who knows—by then Mommy and Daddy might even be brave enough to try ordering CONES!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our first pie!

A couple of days ago the kids saw a pie on television and asked if we could make one. Amazingly, we had all of the ingredients on hand to make a pumpkin pie, so Mommy said YES!

The next morning, the kids watched Mommy unroll some refrigerated pie dough and helped press it into the pie plate. A little while later, while our pre-baked pie shell cooled, everyone gathered around the kitchen island to make the filling. First Mommy read the directions on the can of pumpkin puree, and then we all got a chance to smell the spices. Lucy didn't like the cinnamon, but Jude thought it smelled like "yummy smoothies!"

Smelling the cinnamon

After everyone got a whiff or two, Mommy measured the dry ingredients and let everyone help to mix them all up. Then it was time to beat the eggs! Obliterating the yolks was Isaac's favorite part:

Beating the eggs

After everyone had a turn with the eggs, Mommy added the pumpkin puree, and we took turns stirring our little hearts out:

Mixing in the pumpkin puree

By the time Mommy needed to add the evaporated milk, though, we were done waiting for turns!

Too many cooks in the kitchen?

When the filling was ready, Mommy poured it into the pie shell and stuck it in the oven to bake while we napped. A couple of hours later, we woke up and—ta-da!

Admiring our pie!

Everyone was excited to eat the pie, but reviews were mixed. Jude loved it:

Dahlia tried it, but immediately spit it into her hand:

And Isaac and Lucy played it safe by eating only the whipped topping:

Oh, well! I guess that just means more pie for Mommy and Daddy, right? Can't complain about that!

* Thanks to Play At Home Mom for inspiring me to try making pie with my 3-year-olds!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Numbers (and letters) guy

During the kids' first semester of preschool, Isaac's occupational therapist worked with him on tracing and imitating various shapes and lines. We saw his fine motor skills improve dramatically, and he's putting those "pre-writing" skills to good use with lots of, well, actual writing!

Yesterday, for example, he brought me his magnadoodle and drew the number 10. He has done this before, so I was getting ready to walk away when he drew an 11 next to it. Okay, easy enough. Then he shocked me by writing a 12, a 13, a 14 ... all the way up to 19! I knew he was doing very well with counting, but I had no idea that he could write every single numeral from 0 to 9!

Isaac writes his numbers on the magnadoodle

I also didn't know that Isaac could write "balloon." I have never instructed him in how to write any letter of the alphabet, yet he is slowly figuring out how to write more and more of them himself. He proudly showed me his new word several times yesterday, and I was lucky enough to catch his excitement on video:

Of course, right now Isaac can still spell much more than he can write, and he shows us his stuff by using his beloved magnetic letters. For example, a couple of Sundays ago he spelled out "god sun" and said, "Mommy, God made the sun!" Turns out that's what the kids learned in Sunday school that morning:

Isaac ponders his Sunday school lesson

We are so proud of Isaac for teaching himself to count, to read, to spell, and to write. Since he is still learning to talk, however, I have started trying to use his abilities to his advantage by writing relevant sentences for him to read (such as "I love you" or "Chase me" or "Can I have that?"). I've noticed that doing so is really helping with his understanding, articulation, and self-expression. We are excited to see how else we can help our boy learn to communicate by using his love of the written word!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hello, goodbye

Goodbye, school ...

Last day of the first semester of preschool

Hello, pool!

Opening day at our neighborhood pool

Here's to a great summer, full of lots of stuff to blog about!


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