Friday, March 27, 2015

Henry: Our Letter Expert for the Letter R

This week, at Henry's preschool, it was his turn to be the letter expert. Every week, one student gets to be the Letter Expert and teach the other kids about his or her letter. Henry was super excited to have his turn.

























At first, he kept thinking his letter was a K. I can see how an R and a K look similar, but getting him to tell the difference took a bit of work. Then, we had to search the house for things beginning with the letter "R." This is harder than you might think. In the end, though we found quite a few things. I bagged up some rice, and Henry found R2D2 (of course). Daddy helped Henry find a racecar and a rabbit. After some digging, we found a robot, a rainbow ribbon and a rolling pin. Henry had to practice a lot before his special day.




Not too shabby for a three-year-old, I think.


























We were very proud of our own letter expert.

Henry asks for these pajamas all the time because "they have balls and fire" on them.

























Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Grandma Toni!

Tonight we celebrated Grandma Toni's birthday with a special cake.




















Whole Foods makes the best chocolate mousse cake. Nick even helped me count out the candles. We used 7 tens plus one, so he counted out, "ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, plus one!"




















Unfortunately, I could only find the candles that re-light themselves. I think I was looking for the candles that glow in different colors and I bought these instead. What they are is frustrating. It took all four of us at least five minutes to blow these out.


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Ahh, well. All of our exercise (blowing out the candles, you know) counteracted the calories in the delicious chocolate mousse cake.



















Happy Birthday Grandma Toni!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Breakfast for Dinner!

I just found this short post lurking in my "to be edited" pile. I never finished it or published it, and it's from a few weeks ago.

Sometimes Fridays are the best days to have breakfast for dinner. I was trying to use up some of my homemade bread, so I made some French toast. (I love making bread in my bread machine, but it only lasts three, maybe four days since there are no preservatives.)






































These guys each ate multiple pieces of thick irregularly shaped French toast. I love having breakfast for dinner. Oh, and the best part? We got to have the leftovers for actual breakfast Sunday morning!








































Friday, March 20, 2015

Gears, Asparagus, Death-Defying Feats, and One Sneaky Kid

Here's what we've been up to lately. . . .

























Henry played with his gears for a good hour today. He spun them left, he spun them right, he chatted about which color gears went where.


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Nick brought home his class book. It's a take off on Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. All the kids told the things they would not eat. As we read it, Nick told me he would eat every single thing that each kid wrote about. (Carrots, broccoli, potatoes, chocolate, eggs, etc.) Then we came to his page. . .



















If you're not well-versed in Kindergarten spelling, that's asparagus. Yup. He said he doesn't like either the purple kind or the green kind. Nick told me he doesn't like the bumps on the end. That'd be fine, except he ate the green kind of asparagus last week and said it was yummy. Fickle. That's what he is. Ahh, well. At least he said he'd eat every single other item in the class book.

























Henry is becoming quite the climber. He's also introducing himself to strangers at the park, as in, "Hi, I'm Henry. I am three. I can climb to the top!"

























(He can climb to the top, by the way.)


























After we left the park, several teenagers and somebody's grandma all said, "Bye, Henry!" because they all knew who he was. It's pretty cool to see strangers understanding his speech after such a long struggle for him to talk. We had his IEP meeting this week, and they said that most of what Henry said is now intelligible. (60-70% of what he says is understandable.) That's a huge gain, and we're very proud of him.

























Nick has developed his stealth skills. I had him grounded from the tv this afternoon and sitting in the corner, while Henry had earned an episode of Penguins of Madagascar. I thought Nick was behaving himself rather well in his corner until I noticed his intent stare and awkward kneeling stance.

























Turns out he was watching the reflection of the show in the sliding glass doors. I'm embarrassed it took me so long to figure out what he was doing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I went through most of my life thinking that I wasn't Irish at all, though I knew I had some Scotch-Irish ancestors. According to a DNA test my mom recently had done, though, my mom is 12% Irish by blood. That would make my kids perhaps 3% Irish. (I'm not sure on the math, anyway.)

























Irish or not, they still look good in green! Since Henry's school held his annual IEP meeting today, I got to spend part of the day home with the boys. I made cookies with green sprinkles, but I had to hide the sprinkles from Henry, who wanted to keep them for himself, in his room.

























We might not have had the luck of the Irish, but it was certainly a good day! Nick had a "green" day in school (green=good, it's a behavior system) and Henry got a special sticker for being extra-good on the bus (also in green). Nick did some phenomenal reading for me tonight, and earned some praise and some extra coloring time. He also tried Irish Dancing, after watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKCHgwzMjhw  I only got a few seconds of it, but he danced for quite awhile. His feet moved pretty fast. Maybe his 6% is expressed with his dancing?

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I took Henry out shopping with me, and we made a detour through the car wash. For Henry, it's a pretty exciting trip.

























So, for $5, I can get my new car washed and entertain Henry. Not too shabby.

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I spent part of last weekend downtown celebrating my friend's birthday (more about that later). For the first time ever, I got to see the Chicago River when it was green.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Saturday with My Sons: Spinning Dinosaurs, The Cat in the Hat, and a Waterpark for the Car!

I spend just about every Saturday with my boys. Greg works the whole day, and during this time I have to caffeinate myself so that I can keep up with the kids. I also tend to do the grocery shopping with them, because I'm a brave woman. 

That's a Greek Yogurt goatee on Henry. Every time I wipe it off he sneaks a few more bites and it reappears.






































See the dinosaur in the baggie? Henry had "green day" for show-and-tell on Friday, and his grandma found this little guy for him to bring. He hadn't been played with for awhile, but he's Henry's favorite toy, as you can clearly see. 

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Last week Nick's Kindergarten celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday. The culminating activity was a read-in, where the kids brought three books (Dr. Seuss books if possible) and a beach towel to school. They made Dr. Seuss hats and bow ties. Nick played with his all weekend and kept trying to "glue" it back together when it broke. (What, you ask, did he use to try to glue it back together? Mommy's expensive chapstick.)






































I took the van to the car wash on Saturday as well, as a little gift to Greg. Honestly, I was just sick of getting dirty salt on my coat and pants every time I brushed up against the van. 






































Henry said the car was "like a water park for the car!" He asked me if we could go again today. 






































It was a very productive Saturday. I graded over 30 assignments for my grad students, had the van washed and detailed, meal-planned, cleaned the kitchen, did five loads of laundry, cleared out the fridge, set the bread maker to make two loaves of bread, and filled the van with groceries. Had I known ahead of time how many things I'd be doing, my face probably would've looked like this guy's face. 




Friday, February 27, 2015

The Auntie Who Loves Toys

A few weeks back we visited Auntie Mandy for a whole day. She works a lot, so the boys hadn't seen her in awhile. Doesn't Henry look a little devious in this picture?






































My sister loves toys more than any adult I know.






































Do you see her collection of Lego Minifigures? Henry kept trying to climb up to get them. (He didn't.) Auntie Mandy, though, was prepared and had a whole box of mini figure pieces that Henry could play with. He loved this as he's kind of got an obsession with Lego guys (as he calls them).



We had fun putting together all of the Lego people in hilarious ways.




















My mom stopped by for awhile and helped the boys make hats and build a fort.



















Yes, my sister has two, count 'em, two fort-building sets in her house.






































Here's what they built.  :)






































I would've loved one of these when I was little. Every time we get a run of bad weather, the boys want to build forts out of everything.

Auntie Mandy had Lego books, too!

























On the way home, the kids wanted to know why I didn't have toys of my own at home.

























I told them, "Not everybody is as cool as your Auntie Mandy."