Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines for Friends

I got this great idea last year for making your own valentines and decided to make them for the boys to give to their friends this year. Charlie had his party this past Thursday and they got a great response. For whatever reason it just cracks me up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good Read

Each night the boys bring home a book to read for homework based on their current level (i.e. A, B, C...not sure how high up it goes). For the parent of the beginning reader these can sometimes get somewhat tedious. There's not much to the plot and the illustrations leave much to be desired. Not so today, with the book Benny brought home, If You're Angry and You Know It.

It had the repetition that kids at this level need to reinforce sight words in their head, but it had a great message as well. Too often I tell my kids "don't do that" or "that's not how we act" but what they really need to know is what is an appropriate way to handle a situation. We all get mad and there's nothing wrong with that, it's all in how you handle it. This book showed a number of ways to deal with your anger, but also how you don't have to stay angry, that you can let it go, too.

I'd definitely like to see more books like this!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Art


Louie (this is based on the hot chocolate mug he made for himself and his siblings)

Benny, from church school

Charlie, learning big, bigger, biggest

Charlie's painted train

Benny's robot vs. alien

Benny's diamond (or a rhombus, he says) and trapezoid snake

Charlie's shape train

Benny's cat picture and sentence

Benny's cowboy boot

Louie's "The Redest Boot in Texas"

"Ice Painting" by Charlie

Benny's Gingerbread man (with a mohawk)

Benny's boy walking to his neighbor's, scared by neighbor's dog

Benny's "I Love" signs

Charlie's penguin

Charlie's "M" (he was so proud when he got home--he knew it was for "Mommy" and "Meredith")

Louie is so excited for Benny's birthday party--Star Wars themed

Charlie's polar bear puppet

Charlie's "stained glass heart"

I'm hoping to get better about positioning the pictures!

Playing and Teaching

Although she doesn't say many words (even though she can be very noisy!), Meredith understands everything that's going on, and so Charlie takes time during their play together to teach her everything he knows.

They built a fort out of couch cushions and set up beds inside. He's trying to get her to sleep on the bed and tells her to close her eyes. Standing up, she covers her eyes with her hands. "No, Mere!" Charlie says, frustrated. "Not like hide 'n seek. Close eyes like sleepin'!" She does as she's told. They "sleep" for about three seconds, pop up and proceed to destroy the fort, giggling while doing so.

They play so well together, these two, and I really think that Charlie enjoys having someone to show off all his knowledge to.

One Hundred Days

On Friday, the boys celebrated their 100th day of school. In kindergarten they read a story called Mrs. Bindergarten's 100th Day of Kindergarten. Kind of amazing that a person with a name like that grows up to be a kindergarten teacher. Kind of like a farmer with the last name Farmer. Or maybe it would be Barmer? Benny's class made special hats for the day, and made a fruit loop necklace with a rainbow of loops that added up to one hundred.

Louie's class made the hat and necklace as well, but added in more fun of math by counting to 100 by 10s--100 marshmallows; 100 chocolate chips; 100 cheerios; 100 raisin; and so on, to make "100-Day Trail Mix." The first grade teacher also had the kids make a picture of themselves of when they will be 100-years-old.

Benny made a book for the special occasion. Here, he drew and wrote that he wished he had 100 dollars. Then, he drew and wrote that he can do 100 jumping jacks. He also said that if he had $100 that he would buy and airplane. Very insightful into Benny's head.

Not sure why all of Louie's drawings end up sideways, but here is a picture that Lou drew of himself when he'll be 100-years-old. Apparently glasses and tanning beds are in his future!

Friday, February 4, 2011


At the end of 2010 I had a great desire to slow down. Stay home more. Spend more time with the kids and Kevin, all of us together. Stop jumping in the car and running from here to there, and then somewhere else. My "word" for 2011 was to be slow.

It hasn't been working out too well, though. I wonder if it contributes to our household's general tiredness, the illness that just won't leave, and the crabbiness that is associated with forced rushing, yelling to get shoes, coats, hats and gloves on.

Any advice? I can't complain that we have been able to do some fun things and visit with some great people, but it is definitely taken its toll on us all. Before we had kids Kevin and I stayed pretty busy. That way of life didn't change much once we had Louie, and we stayed on that pace with each following kid. But we've always thought that it had more pros than cons.

I recently got a job. I have been looking for something part time after Kevin gets off work and I think I found the perfect place. Nice people and a fun job. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work there. Is this helping our situation at all? Maybe, maybe not. We're not going to be able to do our all-weekend trips as often as we used to. But I am hoping that being forced to stick around the house on the weekends will allow us to do things like have the kids take regular naps, more family dinners and playing games as a clan--something the kids love more than anything.

I've never been one to stick to a schedule with the kids. I know that all the parenting books say that to be successful in getting kids to eat, sleep, et cetera, they need to be on one. I'm fortunate that staying home with the kids has allowed us to be freer than other families are able to be. I don't think we'll be on a schedule now, as my brain isn't really wired for that, but things will be changing and I'm hoping it'll be for the best.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Shadow! No Shadow! No Shadow!

We here at Casa Llena are big believers in the powers of the groundhog. Hooray that he didn't see his shadow today! We're counting down the days until Opening Day for the Reds; we're praying that the ground starts to thaw so the flowers can pop up; and we're itching for the moment that it's warm enough to open the windows full-time.

Thank you, Mr. Groundhog.