Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sleeping Babes

When I wrote about Nora's big girl bed and included pictures of her sleeping in her crib, I received several emails from other moms saying, "I never take pictures of my kids sleeping!" 

Since then I've been paying more attention to the pictures I take of my babies sleeping.  Every night before I go to bed, I always ALWAYS go into each bedroom to look at my kids, rub their soft skin, and give them lots of smooches.  I just can't resist them. 

Nora is the heaviest sleeper, so I get the most snuggling with her.  I can kiss her round cheeks approximately 437 times without her even stirring.  Nolan is the lightest sleeper, and I can't even give him one kiss or one loving caress without him rolling over and adjusting his covers and getting all huffy over being disturbed.  Griffin falls somewhere in the middle.  Some nights I can nuzzle his face without consequence, and some nights he wipes my kisses off and rolls over.

Taking pictures in a dark room with my cell phone can also be a challenge.  With Nolan being on the top bunk and being a super light sleeper, it's nearly impossible to get a picture of him sleeping.  The initial flash wakes him up, so the few pictures I get are of him squinting and trying to cover his face.

So, I've compiled all my pictures of the kids sleeping over the last couple months so you can see what I get to see and snuggle. 

First, Nolan:

In our bed while Jared was gone
Ok, he's obviously not sleeping.  But he read me the whole book before bedtime!

Now Griffin.  He tends to sleep in odd positions, and sometimes in odd places.  

He fell asleep like this while I was reading the kids their bedtime books on the couch.
He insisted on wearing these "zip jammies" that are way too small.

A couple of the boys together:

And finally, Nora.  See if you can spot a consistency in most of her sleeping pictures.

And my very favorites:

Did you spot Nora's books in every photo?  This chick cannot get enough books.  Her bed is full of them and yet she gets excited to take new books back with her everyday at naptime and bedtime.  She looks at books until she falls asleep.  I love it!

These photos also capture some of the kids sleeping habits.  For example, you can see that each child has a blanket they like to snuggle (the light blue one for Nolan, the green one for Griffin, and the white one for Nora).  Nolan likes to cocoon himself in every blanket he owns, no matter how hot he gets.  Griffin changes his covering blanket pretty frequently.  Nora often prefers to only be covered with her white blanket, even though she's almost longer than it is.

See?  It's worth the risk of waking your child in order to capture them sleeping.  Nuzzling my sleeping babies is one of my favorite parts of my day.  These pictures are my way of remembering all those moments.  

So, I challenge you to take more pictures of your babies/kids sleeping.  Try to get one every night for a week.  Or maybe once per week from here on out.  Or however often you'd like to do it.  They are growing and changing so quickly (despite my pleas for them to stop), and I won't have another chance to capture these moments!


Indoor Fishing

I have been excited for Summer List item #82:  Go Fish Indoors.  It's exactly what I thought my kids would love doing.  I used the free printable here for the fish.  I actually saved this image to my computer and then opened it in PowerPoint so I could size it to fill a whole 8.5x11 page.  I printed three pages to make sure we would have enough fish.

I cut out all the fish, which sorta turned my hand into a misshapen claw.  Then I raided my paper clip collection (of course I have one), and I was able to find corresponding colored clips.  I wasn't sure what type of glue to use, so I pulled out my Tacky Glue (in a pen applicator) because it's an all-purpose craft glue.

I applied glue to the back of the paper clip and placed it on the back side of one fish, leaving part of the clip sticking out.  Then I drew a line of glue around the perimeter of the fish and placed the other fish half on top of the first.  I just used the palm of my hand to press the two fish halves together for a moment.

I had a hard time getting decent photos of our fishing poles up close, but they're simple enough to explain.  I bought three dowel rods at Hobby Lobby for $0.59 each.  I already had cotton twine on hand from when we did fun bubbles.  I also had magnets on hand, but you can buy them at Hobby Lobby or Walmart.  I recommend the round ones that are fairly strong.

I tied some twine around the end of the dowel rod and cut the twine to the length I thought best (2-3 feet).  I wrapped the end of the twine around the magnet a couple times and used hot glue to secure it.

So I did all this prep work a week or two ago.  I stayed up late after the kids were in bed in order to get everything made.  Then I just put it all aside so I could pull it out when we were in desperate need of a fun indoor activity.  And, like I said, I was excited for the kids to see these and do this activity.

Reality did not meet my expectations.

After naps today Nora found one of the fishing poles.  She gave me her cutest smile and made it impossible for me to say no.  So we got out the poles and untangled all the lines that had basically braided themselves together due to the magnets finding each other.  I pushed our coffee table out of the way and spread the fish around on the floor near the couch.  I tried to get the kids to spread out so those strong magnets would stop pulling each other in.

My father-in-law was with us, and he had to help me untangle the lines multiple times.

Nora liked trying to get as many fish as possible on her magnet at once.

The boys were just competing to see who could catch the most overall until there were none left on the floor.

The lines tangled:

Griffin eventually tried holding his string to help him.

What these pictures don't show is the fact that two of the children ended up in time-out back-to-back before we completed this activity.  There was a lot of bickering over particular fish (or "shish" as Nora calls them).  And the kids got very frustrated with each other when we had tangled lines and overly attracted magnets. 

I would recommend using shorter dowel rods.  First, because I nearly lost an eye several times throughout this activity.  Second, because the rods just seemed too long for the kids to handle. 

Once the actual fishing had died down, Griffin enjoyed running around seeing what his magnet would stick to. 

While this activity was more frustrating than fun for us, I think it could be fun with a couple of tweaks and perhaps on a different day.  It would be fun to follow up this activity with a snack of Goldfish or a treat of Swedish Fish.  Or maybe read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."  Or play the card game Go Fish.  Ok, you get the idea.

If any of you do this activity and have suggestions to make it more successful, please let me know!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Progress

I'll let you in on a little secret:  my Summer List has more than 100 items on it.

There are several ideas that I found after I had already posted the official list.  Twice.  And there are several ideas that I thought might be too local or specific for everyone to be able to do.

For example, item #102 on my list is to visit the Fondulac Farm Park, which is about 20 minutes from our house.  We were able to go there earlier this week with some friends of ours.  It was a blast!

Just to clarify, I wasn't standing in the goat pen.  I was on the opposite side as the kids and just tried to zoom in with my camera.

The kids had so much fun.  There were lots of giggles.  The funniest moment was when they were petting the cow and it suddenly started pooping right in front of them.

Nolan really enjoyed petting and feeding the animals.  Griffin surprised me at how well he interacted with all the animals.  He even fed the horse despite the sign that said he might bite.

The thing Griffin wanted to do most was "milk" the wooden cow that squirts water when you squeeze the "milk things." (his term)

This was more than just checking an item off a list for us.  It was spending fun time with friends.  It was being outside and learning about animals.  It was practice taking turns and using manners.

For the most part, the Summer List has been a helpful tool for us.  I don't have the creativity to just think of activities to do with the kids, but I can easily follow directions from other people's ideas.  I am free from having to come up with something fun and educational.  I just have the responsibility of prepping, carrying out, and cleaning up each activity.

Some days I just don't feel like being a science teacher and craft instructor.  I'm busy enough being maid, waitress, wardrobe director, chef, referee, and etiquette instructor.  Yesterday morning Griffin asked, "What's going to be our project for today?"  I secretly thought to myself, "Your project can be entertaining yourself for 10 minutes."

I don't love that most of the activities we've done take longer to set up and clean up than they do to actually do.

But those are my only negative comments.  I think the pros far outweigh the cons with our Summer List.  I finally feel more like the mom I thought I'd be.  Up until now, I've been fairly boring.  I tend to operate in survival mode.

Now, however, I feel like my perspective has changed a bit.  My kids' imaginations, developing minds, and interests are at the forefront of my mind now.  For example, I was at Deals the other day and I looked at everything as I thought my kids would.  I even picked up this handsoap that has fish in the middle (so they look 3D):

It was an impulse buy, and we already have a functional soap dispenser in our bathroom, but I knew it would be fun to the kids.  I didn't tell the kids I had made the switch, and I had so much fun watching each child discover the new soap dispenser with fish swimming in it.  It was the most fun I could buy for $1.

I don't think I would have even looked at that soap dispenser before my perspective changed from "getting through the day" to "making the most of our day."  Of course, there will still be days where the kids watch tv while I clean.  Or days when I'm just too exhausted to be an activities director.  But I know that it's important for the kids to also have time without me directing their every move so they can learn to play together.

So, how's your summer going?