August 22, 2014

images from last weekend

Sorting beads. I've been looking into ways to strengthen Lovie's grip so that writing may come a bit more easier to her and, in the meantime, discovered she LOVES beads. So we bought a ton the other week and last weekend, we sorted all of them by animals, "jewels", plain beads, teddy bears. This took some time to do and it was a lovely way to do something that didn't involve the damn television. Can't wait for her to start making necklaces, etc.

The infamous IKEA Kura bed. We've had it for a couple years now but just now finally turned it so that it's a loft bed and Lovie's in love with it! She says the area under her bed is her secret hiding spot. We (she and I) even have a secret password, just for the two of us, when it's time to go into the secret hide-out. :)

Probably my most favorite activity to date. I wrote and drew with white crayon on white paper and then Lovie painted with water colors over the paper to discover words and shapes, etc. Oh my was this a blast. So much fun. She couldn't get enough of it and I can't wait to do more. And again, another activity that didn't involve the TV. 

August 14, 2014

journal writing: the kid edition

While I'm trying super hard not to be too pushy about this, I'm super dang excited about Lovie learning to read and write. She knows how to spell several words and write them. For the most part. She can also figure out what a lot of easy words are by looking at the first letter of the word as well as the the image nearby. She's a smart cookie and I'm confident she'll be a reader and writer in no time...But I'm anxious.

I am. I don't know why exactly, but the idea of her reading and writing excites me so much. I just can't wait for it all to click. I can't wait for her to start thumbing through books. I can't wait for her to write notes unprompted. I just can't wait.

That said, the kid is only 4 (and a half!).

I want her to really enjoy being 4 and 5 and 6 and....

I want her to play and dance and sing and color and paint and fart and giggle and make bubbles when drinking. I want her to retain that innocence as long as she can. I have no desire to rush anything... I'm just super excited about reading and writing.

Enter the Mama and Me journal.

I got the idea via this pin one day while wasting time on Pinterest, and while Lovie's not really a writer and reader quite yet, I thought why not start this? She could draw pictures or get help to write something. Or she could just let it sit until the day came when she could read and write on her own.

One day last week we were talking about letters or reading or something and I mentioned the idea of the journal and how I thought it could be fun to do-- write letters to one another in a journal, just for us, and put them under the other person's pillow when it's their turn. She seemed kind of excited about it, but not horribly so, so I didn't bring it up again. Instead I printed out a cover image for a notebook I already had and started thinking about what I wanted to write and how I wanted to approach it.

I finally wrote the letter yesterday and stuck it under her pillow while she was watching TV after school. My intention was for her to discover it on her own and figure it out but then, out of the blue, while we snuggled on the couch just before bed, she said, "Hey me-member you said you would get a journal to write in and put under my pillow?"

Oh the smile that washed over my face as I nodded and whispered, "Why don't you go look under your pillow now?"

She looked up at me with such glee and ran off to her bedroom where I could hear an exuberant shriek quickly followed by the sound of her feet running against the hardwood floor back toward the living room. I thought her face might break from smiling so much as she handed the book to me and asked me what it said.

I read it to her, of course, and when I was done she immediately demanded I tell her what to write.

I laughed and told her she didn't have to write anything if she didn't want to, that she could even draw a picture. I reiterated that the journal was for whatever we wanted to share with each other. Well, she continued to demand that I tell her how to spell certain words. And when she was all done, about twenty minutes later, she dashed off to my bedroom, demanding I keep my eyes closed (even though she wrote her letter directly on top of me and I already knew what it said: Hi Mama I Love You So Much).

After I put her to bed, I went in my bedroom and opened the book and looked at her writing more closely. Her big smiley happy faces and rounded hearts made my eyes well up. She ran out of room signing her name so she had to put the last letter in front of the first letter, which made me laugh out loud.

I wrote her a little note back and tucked it under her pillow this morning before I left for work. When it's my turn to journal again, I plan on taping this photo of us I took yesterday while watching TV:

(could she look any less interested/exhausted. oh but she's not tired, oh no!!)

I will cherish this book (and hopefully many more to come) for ever and always.

August 11, 2014

still Living La Vida Montessori

Last week was the first full week of Summer Session II, Lovie's 5th week at Montessori. Everything is still fabulous. It gets old writing all positives but hey, it sure beats all negative stuff, eh?

Lovie brought home her journal Friday before last and it was full of letters and numbers and pictures, including one page which kind of blew me away.

I've never heard of this.

Sure I've seen the design and I probably have heard "quatrefoil" in my life, but not enough to stick in my brain. So seeing this in my 4 year old's notebook... well, clearly I had to take a picture of it and post it on Facebook to let everyone know how I'm being schooled by my 4 year old.

Seriously though, this is truly how the past five weeks have been. All a fantastic, wonderful learning experience that I'm trying to bring into our home as well.

We still watch a lot of TV during our downtime, but I've cleared a lot of the clutter out of our home and made more hands-on toys (play-doh, markers, paints, scissors, glue) more accessible to Lovie at any time she wants. I've even bought some beads and pipe cleaners (love the Dollar Tree) to see if Lovie would be interested in doing some crafting (and strengthening of her fine motor skills to maybe help her write better) while TV watching, and, unsurprisingly, she gobbled it up and is now a maker of bead bracelets.

Yesterday we all stopped at Michael's and spent well over $100 on craft supplies including more beads, stickers, drawing paper, etc. When we got home, we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (fun movie) and crafted. Lovie was quite upset because the first thing she wanted to buy--purple glitter glue--was forgotten at the store, but after she got over that, she went to town with stickering up an empty toilet paper roll which we then turned into a flower vase--complete with flowers made from pipe cleaners.

Who have we become?

August 1, 2014

Living La Vida Montessori

Yesterday was the last day of Summer Session I at Lovie's Montessori school. Today is the end of week four Living La Vida Loca Montessori.

Things are still going quite smoothly. There has been a definite change in our home. Things weren't bad before, but they are just really awesome now.

Goodbye playroom overrun with abundance of annoying toys

It was during her first week at Montessori, that I went home right after work instead of picking her up right away, and loaded up almost all of her toys that she doesn't play with. Three, industrial sized black plastic bags and two tubs later, her playroom was transformed into ... tranquility.

All of these removed toys still are in the house- and in her bedroom's closet, as a matter of fact. She hasn't asked for ONE item. It's been four weeks and it's like she has no idea the toys are missing! HIZZAH! Soon I can start sneaking out bags to Goodwill.

Goodbye long drawn-out bedtimes

It was during her second week at Montessori, when she officially moved into the room where nobody naps, that bedtimes became... unbelievably... dream-like... easy. She's just so exhausted from all the work she does at school and not napping, that she's been falling asleep within minutes of laying down and me telling her a story. And there's never any kind of stalling for some water or going to the bathroom or hugging the cat or or or.

Hello beautiful, relaxing endings to our days

It's not that things weren't always like this-- where we just hung out after work and school. But it's just so super different now. So much more calming.

Maybe it's because she's really tired. Maybe it's because I lost a couple hours time being with her every day since she's no longer in the car with me commuting (school is two minutes from home now instead of 40-60), so I'm really trying to soak up every moment of our time together, but honestly, every day after work and school is so awesome and chill.