How To Be a Friend

We all grow up to be adults.  So many things that we do as adults have to be taught.  Being a good friend is one of those skills that need to be taught to children.  Left on their own, kids are very selfish.  The ever annoying Mine!  No!  Don’t touch and the pushing just come out without instruction.  So what does a mom need to teach her kids about being a good friend?

I am deliberate in having several playdates.  The best one has a few kids from church that come over weekly.  These parents are like me in the fact that they are working to have their kids share and be kind and to love the Lord.  This is the best  group for us to be in.  As well, we invite other kids over from time to time.  Before these playdates, I get the chance to remind the boys that friends are coming over, they need to share the toys and include them in their play.  I do have to step in and ensure that the boys are doing just that while playing.  Those little reminders over time will help to form the type of friendships in the future.  I’m fortunate to have had twins.  Every day is a playdate for them because they always have their brother around.  Every day we have moments were they steal toys, push and shove, bite, hug and help when the other gets hurt.  I don’t spend a ton of time talking to the boys.  As I’ve learned in Wild Things, boys need clear, straight forward and short instructions.  I struggle as a girl to keep my words to minimum but I’m trying to make things easier for my boys.  I know that these short but frequent moments of training can make a difference.  I also know that this training in friendship and being kind will be a life long lesson.

I’ve taken a fun craft that I love and made it into a teaching experience about being a friend.  I’m just crazy over making cards.   Just ask my best friend, we both share this love together.  So yesterday while my boys were sick and not very active I pulled out the stuff for making a simple Christmas card.  I handed the boys red & green dot markers and let them at a plain white sheet of paper.  Sigh, their first stamping experience.   Then I cut out the tree from the stamped pages.  I helped each boy use a glue stick to tack down the three pieces of paper together.  Then I wrote on the back “Merry Christmas.”  I helped the boys sign their names to the back.  They put the cards into envelopes.  I reminded the boys that we were sending their friends a christmas card and that this is one thing that you can do to tell your friends that you care about them.  Then we set down and I added my Christmas cards to the stack and we all put stamps on the envelopes.  I decided after a few misplaced stamps that I would put the stamps in the corner and the boys could press them down.  They had so much fun picking up the envelopes, pressing and putting them aside, well I had to coax Lance into putting them aside because he thought the stamps were stickers that he could put on & peel off.  Then  after a nap, we took all the envelopes out to the mailbox so the mailman could deliver them.  I asked the boys to think about how excited their friends would be when they got something special just for them in the mail.  I showed the boys how many people mommy & daddy  were sending cards to and how many people would feel loved by those cards.  I know my boys are young.  They don’t comprehend everything, but each little thing that I can turn into a teaching moment, I’m helping them to become a better friend and showing them how to demonstrate kindness to others.  I’m reminded today that God has given me some good friends and I consider them God’s blessings & mercies to me.

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Tot School 25.5mo twins – Imagination & Slime

I’m a big believer in letting kids play by using their imagination.  So yesterday our tot school time focused on some of that.  My husband is re-tiling our bathroom and he left an empty tile box, with a square cut out of the bottom, by the trash can.  Lance, my gets into everything boy, decided it was still usable and turned it into a car.  How clever.  I wouldn’t have thought of that.  So I’m sitting in the living room playing with James when Lance comes barreling around the corner holding the square box up around him at waist high and zooming sounds coming out loudly.  I guess he was thinking that race cars are loud, at least the ones on tv are loud and our toy ones are too.  I will be making it a point to let the boys have some unstructured play time to see what they find to play with around the house and what they use those things for.  I’m betting there’s going to be some big, creative fun in our future.

 

I have seen several other mom blogs talk about making slime.  It sounds like fun, their pictures look like fun but I just hadn’t done it yet.  Until yesterday.  Today I know just how fun it is, albeit, I also know just how messy it is too.  So be prepared to throw your little ones in the tub after this activity if they are rambunctious like my twins who feed off each other.  I took equal parts cornstarch and water, mixed them together lightly in a plastic tub, laid out a shower curtain, put the tub on the curtain and pushed up the boy’s sleeves.  Looking back, it was a waste pushing up the sleeves, but oh well.  I handed the boys one wooden spoon to use if they wanted.  They both just stood for a bit looking at the stuff before diving in.

Once I put my hands in and showed them a few things, they had a ball.  They splashed in it, they squeezed it, they held it up high and watched it fall down, they patted it and of-course being brothers, they had a good ol slinging contest with each other.  I wouldn’t have had much to clean up if I hadn’t given them the spoon.  Spoons can propel things really far in case you didn’t know that.  But I think that made it  all the more fun.

I loved knowing that they were learning while playing.  They now really get the concept of falling down, squishing, solid and liquid.  You see, when you hold the slime it stays in a solid form but when you let go of it, it runs out like a liquid.  It’s a neat thing.  Lance made me laugh with his constant saying of solid, solid, solid.  Liquid!!!!!  It actually sounds like sowid and it was so cute.  He was the one who really wanted to squeeze it and feel it become like wet sand.  What better way to show them science and they didn’t even know they were learning great things.  I’ve asked many engineers if they have ever used this and I couldn’t find anyone that had.  I wonder why because this is fun science?

The nice thing is that I did not have to worry about them eating this.  Cornstarch is a common cooking ingredient.  However, one taste was all it took for my boys to decide it tasted gross.

After all the fun, I put a lid on the container because it stays good for a week or so if kept stored tightly.  I rolled up the curtain and set it outside to hose off after the boys and I got cleaned up.   I made the boys stay in the kitchen until the slime dried mostly.  Then we all headed upstairs for a bath.  Little bits of dried cornstarch fell off and it vacuumed up easily.  I would highly encourage you to make some slime yourself and let the messy playing begin.  As my artist friend advised, get those little hands in gooey things now so they won’t grow up with an aversion to them.  It’s so much fun, it’s so messy but I wouldn’t trade the learning and play for anything.  God’s little mercy today was slime.  Not what I normally consider a gift.  So don’t wait like I did,  go out there and have your own slime adventures.

Remember mom, it’s all washable, except the great memories!

Our Journey To Thanksgiving

With a thought towards praising our God, we three set out on a journey to Thanksgiving.  What possessed me to take twin 2 yr boys to downtown Dallas?  I don’t know.  It was crazy and yet so much fun.  Now I’m exhausted.  So here’s the story of our journey to Thanksgiving Square in Downtown Dallas.

We packed a quick diaper bag, got in the car and headed out to the Dart light rail station.  We got out of the car, which I had to park at the very end of the parking lot because it was full and I felt anything but grateful while I herded two boys past the rocks, cars, holly berries and countless other things to get them to the train station.  I bought my ticket and then I sat down on the platform with the boys in my lap looking down the track expectantly for the redline train.  The boys heard the bells ringing long before the train arrived and started shouting in excitement.  As the train rolled to a stop, we could hear the air pumps for the wheels and breaks.  We climbed aboard, found our seats and away we went on our 45 min ride, watching as people got on and off the train.  Oh, can’t forget the loud commenting that people indeed where getting on and off while the door opened and closed.

We made it to the Ackard station and jumped off the train.  Being a bit nervous with all the cars going by so close, I made both boys hold on to my hands while we walked the block up to Thanksgiving Square.  On our way we saw people walking to work, riding bikes, construction men and several more trains pass by.  What a relief when we got to the square and I could let the boys roam without a lot of worry.  They loved walking through the big ring representing unity.

 

Next we looked at the water fall.  I think you are supposed to meditate while looking at it, but ha, getting 2 yr olds to meditate is funny.  Well, they did watch it for a minute but I don’t think any meditation was going on.  I meditated on this thought “Boys, don’t jump in!”  Not what I think the creator of this exhibit was intending.

 

Then we ran up the stairways to get to the chapel.  I had never been there.  It’s quite pretty.  I let the boys walk around and shout to hear their echo since no one else was in there.  I had the boys lay down to look at the stained glass ceiling.  When I say that I had them lay down, I had to pick them up and put them on the ground before they noticed the ceiling.  Once they saw it, they stayed laying down for about a minute.  The spiral is truly beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we went outside and read the scriptures on the walls.  One in particular reminded me of a praise hymn so I sang it to the boys, “Enter His Courts With Thanksgiving.”  They even caught on to a few words of the chorus.

 

We headed to the nearby underground tunnels.  I saw a sign for the Pickle Barrel Sandwich Shop down in one of the tunnels.  My grandmother used to take my brother and I down there to eat when I was little so I thought I’d take my boys too.  When we got there, the original sign was on the window with another sign below stating it was an indian buffet but the whole place had gone out of business.  That was fine, because I needed to stay on budget anyways.  So we took a picture and I told them about me coming there as a little girl.  The boys couldn’t care less as they ran down the tunnel.  So much for them being history buffs.

 

So we rode on a few escalators and headed back to the Dart train.  We had a fun time together.  What a blessing to Dallas residents to have a God centered place in the middle of downtown.  If you haven’t been there and you live in Dallas, make time to go see it.  I loved singing scripture with my boys today and I’m so thankful that God gave us His word.  Tomorrow we will have a grand meal with family and celebrating His provisions for us.  Happy Thanksgiving!  May you and your family have a wonderful journey towards Thanksgiving and our Lord.

Tot School 25.5mo twins – When the Turkey Breaks Its Tail

Thanksgiving is almost here.  All turkeys should be very wary before gracing our door!  I planned out a turkey activity/craft.  It didn’t go so well, but if your kiddos are a bit older than 2 yrs or maybe just calmer than my boys, it’s a fun project to do.  I first took cardstock and cut out a circle on it with a face.  Then I took colored markers and made triangle spots around the top and sides.

Next I took clothespins and painted the ends with the matching colors to the triangles.   I called the boys over and we named each of the colors on the face.  Then I showed them how to pinch open the clothes pins.  While I was working with Lance on how to get a pin open, James had himself a grand ol time breaking as many pins apart as he could.  If you need something broken or torn apart, just come see us and we can take care of it for you.

I naively thought that James just needed a little lesson on how to work the pin, but no, with a little instruction, he smiled sweetly and proceeded to pull apart another one.  Lance had pinned four onto the face before he decided to follow  James’ lead.

So our turkey had a broken tail and mommy rescued all the tail “feathers” so that we can try to put it together sometime at a future date.  Maybe on a rare day when I only have one at a time while dad takes the other one somewhere.  I haven’t given up on turkey crafts, but this one was not a winner for this year.  I would love to see pictures of turkey crafts that you have done with your kiddos, even if your turkey got it’s tail feathers broken too!

Tot School 25.5mo twins – B is For Bear

I am the world’s best copier. The things I see around me are full of creativity and while I may not be able to come up with much that’s new on my own, I love trying out those cool ideas I see others doing.  So our tot school during the last part of the week was totally borrowed from I Can Teach My Child.  We are still working on the letter B and we did her B letter bear craft.  I looked at the bear plate picture that was her inspiration and drew from that picture our own bear on regular white copy paper. 

 

Next I taped down the papers to the table and squeezed glue onto the inside of the B.  I showed the boys how to smear the glue around with their pointer finger.  I grabbed a wet paper towel and quickly washed & dried their fingers.  Then I set out a blowl of coffee grounds.  Mind you, I used decaf because I was sure that Lance would try to eat it and he didn’t fail me.  They had a ball covering every inch of the paper with coffee.  I carefully untaped the pages and shook off the loose grounds into the trash.  What was left was a fuzzy looking bear with black hair.  Just as a tip, we didn’t use enough glue so our bears look like they are shedding with a few bare patches around here and there. 

The boys got washed up and I layed the pages out to dry.  Later that day I hung them up on our refridgerator and the boys like looking at them and we say the B sound when are looking at them.  It was a cute, fun and easy craft to do with the boys.  The next time you need a bear craft, I’d try this one.  Check out I Can Teach My Child to see good pics and get a better idea of what it should look like.  But remember that if your bear turns out like ours, it doesn’t matter because the kids are learning and having fun.  Good luck crafting!

Tot School 25mo twins – Letter B

All this week we are learning about the letter B and it has been a fun morning.  We have been watching the The Letter Factory DVD by LeapFrog and the boys run to the couch and keep their eyes glued to the tv while it’s on.  To start the day off I sang the B sound from the DVD and I just laughed as James ran as fast as he could to the couch.  He was a bit disappointed when he said tv and I said not right now.  Since he was already on the couch I called Lance over and we read three books that all begin with the letter B.  The boys love dumping all the mega blocks out and using them to throw through the openings into the slide castle.  Then when they can’t get any more on there, they push them all down the slide.  We built houses, towers and some strange abstract pieces with the blocks.  When that was done, I had the boys sort the blocks into colors.  Yellow, green and black went into the yellow bin and red and blue went into the blue bin.  It took some help from mommy to get them all into the right bins and when I asked them to name the color it usually wasn’t the right one.  I’ve heard it can take up to 3 1/2 before some kids really get their colors and that may be my kids too.  As usual with twins, nothing works for both boys at the same time.  Lance jumped on the chance to sort the blocks while James ran off to play by himself in the kitchen.  By the time Lance got tired and started playing with a puzzle, James decided putting up the blocks would be great fun.  So everyone pitched in a little and it got done.

 

We got dressed and started on our next project of baking bread.  If you haven’t got your kids in the kitchen yet, try it.  I love cooking so I love having my kids help.  As soon as I said we were baking break, the boys ran to push chairs up to the kitchen counter.  They were so excited to get started that I didn’t take the time to put on aprons, my mistake but clothes are washable.  Mom put the water in, Lance put the yeast in and James put the mixed dry ingredients in the bowl.  I gave each one a wooden spoon for stirring.  By the way, with twins, give up on the idea of not having a kid lick his hands and go back to helping.  You just can’t avoid that and still enjoy cooking with them.  Besides, the bread is going to be cooked at 400 degrees in the oven and no germ is going to live through that.  We all kneaded the dough and put it in a bowl to rise.  Then we cleaned up to move on to other play.  After an hour, I put the bowl on the floor and let the boys punch the dough down.  They loved this part and they whined when I took the bowl away.  We all helped put the dough into another bowl for a second rising.  While they are asleep, I’ll pop it into the oven for baking.  It should be cooled and ready to try when they wake up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the dough was rising we did a few other b things.  We played with a blue ball.  James wanted to sit down and roll it back and forth to each other while Lance wanted to throw it.  Neither of them have much patience yet so there was a lot of screaming and reaching for the ball when the other one picked the ball up and did what they wanted to do until the other one got the ball back and sent the other one into screaming too.  A bit challenging but we made it through with no hitting or biting today.  When I couldn’t take the complaining anymore, I got them interested in building with the big blocks.  This is one of their favorites.  James loves the building.  As soon as the tower gets knocked down, James grabs a block and yells build while waving a block around.  Lance just loves the knocking down part.  To make it more fun I have them stand by our gate and wait while I say on you mark, get set, go.  I playfully get onto them if they start running early and they just laugh and love it.  Lance doesn’t care who knocks the tower down first because he dives into the pile even after it goes down.  James on the other hand cried when Lance beat him to it.  Those personalities are coming through. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we ended our morning with something new that didn’t even relate to the letter b.  We got out the Sit & Spins.  We normally don’t buy two of anything because we are working on sharing and the cost too. But these we decided to get two of.  What a hit, thirty minutes of around and around and switching sit and spins, since they are different colors.  It was a good ending to a fun b morning.  God’s mercy for today was showing me all the creative things we could do with the letter b.

Tot School 25mo twins – weekly review

My, time has sure gotten away from me.  I haven’t posted about our tot school this week.  My lack of blogging was due mainly because I am undergoing some testing for hormone imbalances so I can’t take my regular meds.  Without my meds this week, I yelled at the top of my lungs at my kids, I wanted to slap them (I didn’t though), I went outside and threw a few things and I took the kids over to my parents house for dinner one night to help me out.  It was a rough week, but I’m hoping the results of the tests will get me back on track to a healthier and happier momma.

When I wasn’t losing it, here’s a quick recap of this last week.  We are reading a great bible story about a leaper being healed by Jesus and the leaper being thankful.  We’ve worked on saying thank you when mom or dad or brother gives them something.  We took a craft project from last week at the library and used the red dot stickers on our faces to make it look like we had leprosy.  The boys totally missed the point because they thought it was hilarious and Lance was fixated on the stickers.  We’ve started working with one letter of the alphabet each week too.  Obviously we started with the letter A.  We have four different books about the alphabet and we camped out on identifying all the things on the A pages.  Then I printed out a page with A things on it so they could color it.  James had a ball and colored away while Lance just wasn’t into coloring this week.  In fact, I had to remove him from the table as fast as I could because when they are done, they quickly rip it off the table and generally it comes off in two separate pieces.  They also had the chance to finger paint a letter A with an apple on it the color red.  That lasted a whole two minutes then Lance decided he would lick his paint off his fingers and James laughed about it which encouraged that behavior even more.  So the finger paints went away for this week too.  The play do went the way of the colors and the finger paints too because yes, eating it was way more fun than rolling it out and using a star cutter.  Those were just a few of the failed attempts this week.

The things that really worked out and made a hit were fabulous.  This month we are focusing on the star shape.  I took masking tape and made a gigantic star on the floor.  It was a little out of proportion but the kid’s didn’t notice.  I showed them how to walk around it heel to toe style, then we did normal walking, running, skipping, hopping, tip toed, marched and German style marching.  I had a great picture of them doing this but I erased it in my camera.  We worked on counting and it’s coming along well.  I took a sheet and wrote the numbers 1-10 on it.  Then to Lance’s delight, we got out the stickers and placed the appropriate number of stickers under, or what they view as under, the numbers.  It made me laugh.  They didn’t get it, they kept trying to put stickers back on the other piles even when they were counting correctly through the numbers.  But they had fun which is the goal!

The best part of the week was the leaves falling in our backyard.  We have a good-sized red maple tree.  We looked at all the different sized leaves, the different colors, the shapes and if they were crunchy or soft.  I pulled out our rake and piled up all the leaves.  They had fun running through the pile.  Then James tripped and fell into the leaves and he really discovered playing in the leaves.  He giggled as he tried to bury himself then he would shoot up scattering leaves everywhere.  He threw them up and watched them float back down.  He twirled inside the pile and took giant steps over the pile.  You name it, he did it.  Lance likes the leaves too but not as much as his brother.  The finale to all this great leaf play was when we piled up the leaves at the end of a slide.  Crash!  Crunch!  They had a blast hitting the pile of leaves each and every time.  Mom got a little tired of pushing the leaves back in place each time, but it was so worth seeing them have so much fun.  Fall is here for such a sort little while and I’m glad to have falling leaves as God’s tender mercy for my week.