Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paint Chip Phonics - A Perfect Pinterest Project

 These paint chip reading strips are all over the Internet, and they are a perfect (and colorful) supplementation to our Reading lessons.  I recently made some with pretty simple phonetic patterns (consonant-vowel-consonant), but I'll for sure be making a trip to the store again soon for some more to make another batch with some bigger word family chunks.  Yay for free materials!

25 Weeks - Rutabaga

Here's the belly at 25 weeks.  No actual rutabaga, though.  

Here's a picture of a rutabaga....Baby girl is about 1.5 pounds, and 13.5 inches. 

I had a check-up today.  Weight gain has slowed a bit compared to last month, though I'm still gaining pretty steadily.  Once again, I talked to my doctor today about it (a different doc this time) and she doesn't seemed concerned at all.  She said that based on my height, and my starting weight, she wouldn't be surprised if I gained up to ____ pounds (number purposely not disclosed!).  The number she gave me surprised me a bit, and is more than what I gained with all of my other pregnancies.  I certainly don't want to make it a goal to gain that much, but it does make me feel better that none of my doctors are concerned.  They checked me for edema (swelling) and as far as they can tell, I am not having any of that.  I did talk to her about some ways I can cut back on the calories, although she made sure to tell me that I am not to diet.

The reality though, is that I feel like a beast.  I am so looking forward to cooler weather so that I can hide my eczema-damaged skin and my extra pounds under some jeans and hoodies.  Oh, Fall....please come soon.  I was never this concerned with my other pregnancies, not sure why it's become such a big deal to me now.

The most important thing is that our baby is healthy.  She hasn't been quite as active over these past few days as she was the prior couple of weeks, which was a bit concerning, but her heartbeat today was strong and my doctor told me that as long as I am feeling her daily, I shouldn't be concerned.

The weeks really are flying by.  I have an ultrasound scheduled for 2 weeks from tomorrow, and I am looking forward to seeing our little one again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 Today, we went to Brookfield, specifically to check out their Xtreme Bugs exhibit.  It was definitely a low-energy day at the zoo for all of us.  Meredith seems to have a little cold, and everyone was up later than normal last night at a very fun ice-cream party with friends.  So, we were all a bit tired!

The Bugs exhibit closes down next week, and we hadn't yet been, so I wanted to make sure to check it out while we had the chance.  I'll be honest....I was a tad disappointed.

It was cool to see the gigantic robotic bugs that lined the paths going in and out of the exhibit.  Like these humongous butterflies...

  But, I thought there would be more actual live bugs to see.  We did get to see real ants digging tunnels, real ladybugs in a small cage, and some very real and nasty cockroaches crawling in a clear bin under a pretend sink; other than that, any little critters we wanted to see had to be via the various videos they had playing.  Don't get me wrong, the videos were cool - we could watch bugs getting eaten by spiders, bees making honey, etc. but my kiddos weren't really into the movies.  They (like most little ones, I'd imagine) wanted hands-on.  There were some hands on things for them to do, but it was just not was I expected.

 "Digging" for bugs...

 Crawling through a log...

 This next part the kids really liked....they could dress like exterminators and check this pretend home for various bugs.   Meredith liked drawing all over the paper, Shane loved opening all of the doors, and Caleb was all business....he took this quite seriously, and even got some other kids to play "exterminator" along with him.

 Magnetic bug pieces....Meredith really enjoyed this, and might have played longer, but a bathroom break became necessary and unfortunately, we had to actually leave the exhibit to get to a bathroom and the ladies inside weren't sure if we could actually get back in if we left.  Another downside.

 Our day was redeemed by our visit to the butterfly garden....a beautiful greenhouse filled with lots of colorful flowers and over 300 butterflies!  The kids really loved this, and it gave Caleb the perfect opportunity to use his magnifying glass.

Shane was so tired.  I'm pretty sure he would have liked to just fall asleep right here.

Ending the day (after some push pops and lemon ice) to fill out our "entomologist journals"...the kiddos circled the bugs that we actually got to see (live, not robotic!) and then wrote about their favorite bug to see, their least favorite bug to see, and something they learned.  This was mostly for Caleb, although of course Meredith wanted to do one as well. =)

His favorite bugs to see were the butterflies, because "they are so colorful and that's why I like to look at them with my magnifying glass."  He did not like to see the cockroaches, because "they're so yucky and make a mess."  And, he learned that "the monarch butterfly is black and white and orange."
Caleb's monarch butterfly
First off - don't mind her dirty face....she plays hard!  Anyway, Meredith's favorite bugs to see were the ladybugs, because "I like them" and she did not like to see the cockroaches, because "they were yucky."

Sunday, August 26, 2012


 Our firstborn is officially five.  Five, I tell you....FIVE!  (Sorry for the reiteration here.  Saying it once just doesn't seem to be convincing me.) 

We've had a very fun (and exhausting!) weekend of celebrating.  

On Saturday, we had a birthday bash for family and friends.  Caleb had requested a "pirate party", in honor of his love for some of his favorite DisneyJr characters - Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

treasure map invitation
Here are 2 of my little pirates before the party.  Caleb has a red bandanna on like Jake and Meredith is sporting a pink one, like Izzy.

 Caleb had a GREAT time at his party.  We packed a lot of people into our not-so-large house/yard (22 kids ages 5 and under, plus lots of moms and dads), and it was lots of fun.

As much as I appreciate a clean house, I absolutely love when my house is bursting at the seams with the energy and mess that little ones bring (you know, more than the usual energy and mess we have with just our 3!).  Floors covered in grass and wet/muddy footprints, random scraps of food and wrappers littered throughout, toys in all sorts of random places, and wet towels and t-shirts covering the chairs.  A smooshed blueberry here, a left-behind pizza crust there.  Dried ice cream puddles there, juice dripping here.  I LOVE it!

I'm also thankful for brooms and mops and vacuums and cleaning agents.   And a helpful husband who doesn't mind helping with the clean-up. =)

Caleb just loves people, so this kind of party is just his thing.  Lots of friends, lots of energy, lots of piratey-fun. 

 Pirate-y food and decor...

the spread

pirate pizza
pirate swords - small pretzel sticks & halved grapes
pirate boats - mini muffins w/ sails
bucky's fruit salad (bucky is the name of the ship that jake and his crew sail).  caleb was most excited about this!
walk the plank - crackers & cheese
fish & chips
pirate brew - juice & pop
pirate's booty - popcorn
 As the kids arrived, they each received a treasure bag with a map (created by Caleb!).  They were to search for golden doubloons (gold coins) that were "hidden" in the backyard. Think Easter Egg Hunt with fake gold coins instead of eggs!  I didn't get ANY pictures of the kids searching for treasure, darn.

kids' treasure bags

some were hidden in the dirt...
...and some in the grass.

I actually forgot to get these out, as the kids were plenty occupied with other things.  caleb and meredith and the last couple of kids went to town with them on the driveway.
Our littlest ones enjoying lunch...


We had some little pools set up for the kids to play in, and they spent most of their time in those....which was perfect since today was a hot one! 

The coolest pool was definitely this pirate ship one that Grandma found just this past wasn't huge, but it had a sword and a sail and a steering wheel.  Thanks, Grandma!

Caleb doesn't like cake, cupcakes, brownies or cookies.  What he does like is ice cream.  So, instead of slaving away to make this treasure chest cake that he wouldn't even eat, we just went with his favorite - vanilla ice cream with sprinkles.  Much easier, and he appreciated it much more!  We did have a couple kiddos wonder where the cake was, but most seemed pleased enough with the ice cream.

Singing "Happy Birthday"
Shane enjoyed his ice cream cone!
Pinata time!

 It was really fun to see the kiddos swing their hardest at the hovering treasure chest.  While a lot of them had never done a pinata before, it was clear that there were some pros. =)  

Eventually, we just had to break it open ourselves....but the kids gave it their best.  Next time, we might need a non-plastic hitting device!  Special thanks to Greg for retying the rope on more-than-one occasion.

Instead of a huge pile of candy dropping out of the finally-busted pinata, there were pre-made goodie bags, one for each kid, labeled with his/her name.  This seemed to be a much less chaotic version of the traditional way.  Or, maybe I am just a boring mom??  Most importantly, the kids had more "treasure" to add to their treasure bags - a ring pop, a chocolate coin, and a tattoo.

Our favorite 5 year old in his new cape, homemade by his Nana!

Today, his actual birthday, was a bit more low-key, but special nonetheless.

I ran out to get Dunkin' Donuts....Caleb loves their plain donuts.  Plain, really? 
And, a couple pictures of my handsome (and silly!) FIVE-year-old, snapped before church.

Speaking of church, today was promotion weekend in children's ministry, so all of the kiddos moved up a room.  Caleb is now in an upstairs classroom for the first time with other Kindergartners.  He even got his own binder that he'll bring back-and-forth between home and church that includes daily devotions for the week as well as his memory verses.

For lunch today, Caleb picked Noodles & Co.

 Thanks to a very generous friend, whose own children have outgrown this wonderful and like-new toy, Caleb now has his very own "vehicle".

 He has wanted one of these for the past year, and his dreams were fulfilled when he got to drive one this summer for the first time. Seriously, on that day, he told us that he had "been dreaming about this."  Our friend, who had read that blog post, emailed me the next day to let me know that she was willing to part with theirs if we would like it for Caleb.  We have one very happy boy in this house!

Caleb told sissy to jump right in for a ride!
 It was raining a little bit, that didn't stop them.

a little ride around the cul-de-sac
I love this one.  Caleb is all business, and Meredith looks a little fearful!
We spent the rest of the day napping and playing with lots of new toys, thanks to our generous family and friends.  

For dinner, Caleb requested pancakes.  Easy enough!

Mickey Mouse for the birthday boy
And, some more ice cream and singing to end the day...

 Happy 5th birthday, Caleb!!


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