Monday, March 31, 2014

Letter F Tot School

Henry is 36 months.

I'm a couple weeks behind blogging about this, but two weeks ago we did the letter F again. I thought Henry would really like it because he has been super into farms lately. But, it was his birthday week and then we all got super sick. So, other than co-op, tot school sort of went to the sidelines that week. I still think we had some good work, so I'll share! And co-op was fun that week.

On our first tray was the color matching flower work that I used in our spring unit last year. It was a set of felt flowers, corresponding button stems, and a corresponding color sheet. Henry still loved this tray this year and had a bunch of fun again matching the colors. He was much better this year at getting the flowers around the buttons.

The second tray was a set of 3-part farm cards with different farm animals. I paired the cards with our set of Schleicht animals. Henry still struggles with matching the words on his own but enjoys matching the cards and animals.

The third tray was a set of cards which asked the kids to match the correct word with the picture. They had a picture of the word and its name spelled correctly. Then, they had three choices -- two of which were close but wrong. Then, the tray included small beads to place on the correct word. This was a big hit with the co-op kids and provided a good challenge. Henry wasn't very good at finding the correct word, but liked trying.

Other things we did included:

Block puzzle -- we used this last time too. Henry still struggled with it, but enjoyed it a lot more than last time we used it.

Feelings Cards -- I cut and laminated a bunch of baby/young child pictures from magazines with different happy/sad/surprised faces. The kids could then sort them into their respective feelings.

Magnet Board -- Complete with a set of wooden farm magnets. Everyone enjoyed making their own farm.

Letter F Sensory Bin

Tot School Montessori Monday

Sunday, March 30, 2014

28 Weeks!

3rd Trimester! 3rd Trimester, People! Time to panic! This baby is coming and coming fast. 

Me, on the other hand, I'm getting slower and slower. I'm really starting to feel it when I overdo it these days. To be completely honest, pregnancy was a lot easier when I wasn't also running around the house pretending to be a lizard/dinosaur/lion or lifting a toddler in and out of a carseat. And, ugh, the heartburn. After I stopped eating dairy, all of my heartburn problems went away -- well, they are back in big way now. Thank the Lord for zantac! But, overall, I'm healthy and feeling alright.

Good news at this month's doctor appointment was I passed my gestational diabetes test! Woot -- pass me a Peep to celebrate! However, my hemoglobin levels are really low and I need some follow up blood work. Hopefully its nothing and will just require an iron supplement -- which is exactly what happened at this point in my pregnancy with Henry. And, remember last month when the doctor warned me I was gaining weight to fast? Well, I saw another new doctor this month, and of course she tells me my weight gain (9lbs total) is on the low end of things. But, this doctor was a lot nicer and said not to worry about it at all. 

Wiggles is living up to her name. At the moment, my stomach is jumping all over the place. Jabs are starting to get painful, but its so reassuring to have a baby that is constantly on the move. Nora's heartbeat was 153 at the appointment, and I'm measuring perfectly.

As I've entered my 3rd trimester I think Morgan and I are starting to feel the pressure to actually get ready for this baby. My first project was to clean out the baby dresser and finish Henry's closet -- which is now done! I've also sent the nursery fabric -- isn't it cute!?! -- to a friend (Heidi -- The Pajama Mama) who generously offered to make a few things for the room. And, I actually bought a few outfits! Its weird to see all this baby stuff -- especially pink baby stuff -- starting to live in my house. 

I hope we can keep the baby-prep momentum going over the next month!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Montessori Toddler Closet

Our latest Montessori project has been to finally complete Henry's closet. Ever since we completed his Montessori toddler bedroom, the closet has been sitting empty -- except for a few toys that I rotate in and out for his quiet time. During this time, his clothes have still been in the baby dresser in the closet of our tot school classroom.

Since we need the baby dresser for baby things, we finally had to get the motivation to finish up the closet. I'm so happy we did, and so is Henry. For the short time that the closet has been done, he has loved picking out his outfits. Henry always had the choice to pick his outfits before, but it was significantly harder to see all the choices when things are folded in a drawer. 

For this renovation, we moved an Ikea Expedit shelving unit into the space. This unit holds everything that can't easily be hung up. Baskets make it easy for Henry to get what he needs and to help put away his own laundry. Everything on the shelf is completely accessible for Henry allowing for total independence. 

The other big change we made was moving the hanging bar much lower. Its at the perfect height for Henry to hang/unhang clothes. On one side of the shelf are his pajamas and the other side are his shirts. We're still working on teaching him how to put clothes on the hangers, but he can take the clothes off. He also quickly figured out how to hang clothes up on the bar by himself.

On the walls of the closet, I hung pictures I took of Henry dressing. I looked for a set of other children dressing, but I couldn't find anything I liked. These pictures add a little beauty to the space, and will hopefully give Henry the confidence to try to dress completely on his own -- something he struggles with.

The other parts of the closet -- two built in shelves -- are used for toy storage. These are things that Henry can ask to play with at quiet time or are occasionally rotated to his play shelves. Overall, I'm very happy with how the space turned out, and I'm excited to give Henry a space to practice essential care-of-self skills! 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday Party

Just before Henry's 3rd Birthday, we held his Yo Gabba Gabba birthday party. If you follow me on Instagram, then you are well aware of Henry's obsession with all things Yo Gabba Gabba. This party was fun and pretty easy to put together -- since I could purchase some things and make some fun details. 

I made the banner over the fireplace, the gift bags, and the picture banners. All were made with simple scrapbooking tools and plain card stock. We kept the menu pretty simple -- mini hotdogs, chips/salsa, veggie cups with ranch, and fruit salad. Of course we had some dairy-free cupcakes. And, Henry's favorite -- juice. 

The look on Hen's face when he woke up and say everything was pretty amazing. He loved every second of the day. In the morning we had a party with some of his friends. Henry did great until everyone sang Happy Birthday, where he proceeded to get super upset. He also refused to open any presents, but people seemed to understand. 

In the afternoon, we had our families over. Henry was pretty over-sugared and excited by this time, but still loved running around with his Grandmas and cousins. There was more refusing to open presents which I think caused his cousins' (ages 5 and almost 3) minds to explode. 

This lovely banner covered the giant hole we have in our wall from our water damage from earlier this year. It actually worked pretty well! 

Overall, the day was great and I was so happy to celebrate Henry and everything he loves. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Purging the Baby Toys

When Henry was a baby, Morgan and I had no idea what Montessori -- or any other natural learning philosophy -- was. We just sort of went with a more commercialized and {this might not be the right word} "typical" American view of baby raising. This included a lot of plastic, noisy, light up baby toys. 

Now, let me stop here and say, I don't think there is anything wrong with these types of things. Henry has plenty of it still, even with our Montessori and natural parenting inclinations. But, as we've matured as parents, I think Morgan and I have gravitated away from these products. 

So, with baby Nora we are going to try a new direction. Baby toys that light up, make noise or otherwise serve no purpose but to entertain are out. I don't think we will get rid of all plastic, because that's not in our budget, but some of it may go too. 

She will obviously still have access to Henry's stuff, but we may even cut-back on his stuff over time. There are just so many great alternatives out there.

1. Minnesota Teether
2. Wooden Teething Rings
3. Bell Rattle
4. Wooden Baby Car
5. Knitted Nesting Bowls

6. Rainbow Stacker
7. Clutching Toy
8. Ball Cylinder
9. Triangles
10. Wooden Keys

Just a note -- None of these are affiliate links, and none of the products are things that I own or have been given. These are just products I would love to have in my home for baby Nora! 

Anyone else use mostly natural toys or Montessori toys with their baby? Are there products you would add to this list?


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Henry at 3-years-old

Henry is officially 3-years-old. SOB! How is this possible?! I feel like its been a lifetime and a flash all at once since he was born.

Henry's 3-year check up isn't until April, so I don't have updated height/weight. At his last check (at a sick visit) he was right around 26 pounds -- or 6 percent for his age. I'm sure his height is about the same percent. He's pretty tiny -- wearing most 2T shirts (although some 3T are starting to fit!) and mostly 18m pants. He has started to wear the occasional 24m pants but they are long and way too big in the waist. He's a size 6 or 6.5 shoe. 

But, for what Henry lacks in physical size he makes up for with his giant personality. Henry is so funny, charismatic and goofy. He knows exactly how to work a room and make everyone notice him. In particular, he loves little girls -- and they love him. But, he is very shy in new situations and needs a lot of transition time. However, he does NOT do well with separation, especially in new places. He wants to be with Morgan or me all of the time. 

Henry is also a worrier. He is very anxious about certain things and will worry about them for days in advance -- going to new places, changing his routine, or being left by himself are his biggest sources of stress. He is also exhibiting some perfectionist tenancies and is not very flexible. When he makes a mistake or thinks he can't do something perfectly he tends to resist doing it or outright refuses it. 

Henry is so smart! He counts to around 15-20, knows all the letters and their sounds. He can spell his name, the word stop, and Minnesota. He can name all of the continents, a couple countries and some states. He can tell you my name and Morgan's. He knows his address, all his colors, and so many other things. He has an amazing memory and just shocks me every day. 

He loves to use his imagination. He plays pretend with just about anything. Every object can be a rocket ship, or a doctor's office, or a family. He loves his doll house, everything Doc McStuffins and of course Yo Gabba Gabba. He loves babies and can't wait for Nora to arrive. His favorite foods are anything sweet or covered with mayonnaise. 

Henry doesn't love sleeping. He no longer naps at all unless he is sick. Henry does spend 1.5-2 hours of quiet time in his room, so at least I get a break. Henry also still wakes at least once a night (usually more) at least 3 times a week. He's not a fan of anything remotely "scary" or rough. He also isn't a fan of meat in most forms or most green veggies. And he continues to be allergic to dairy and chocolate. 

I wish I could just bottle Henry up at this age. The twos were anything but terrible and he has been a total joy. I'm looking forward to all the new things and adventures 3-years-old brings!