Did ya feel it yesterday? The little shiver of cold. If you live in Texas, then you should have because it snowed yesterday. In the month of May no less.
Yesterday I started in on some serious paper shredding. I’m talking about 7 basketfuls that were shaken, pressed down, and overflowing full. I was about to toss it all in the trash when it occurred to me that this shredded paper felt soft and looked a lot like snow. So I handed each basketfull to my twin boys and told them to go dump it in the middle of the living room. Let me stop right here and say, if you hate a big mess with a real passion, don’t do this! A mess doesn’t deter this mamma. I exclaimed rather loudly “snowball fight” and grabbed two fist fulls and chucked them at the boys as I ran. That was it, I didn’t need to do anything more because I’ve never seen the boys move so fast and laugh so loud. Here’s what all we did with our snow.
Big snowball fight
Felt the tickle as it snowed down on each of us
Covered mom’s legs
Covered the boy’s hands
Covered the cars “parked along the street”
Made a snow hill
Went sledding down the hill
Bulldozed snow up and loaded it into the back of the big dump truck
We had so much fun for 3 hours. That’s the best cheap entertainment we’ve had in a long while. We also pretended to make snow ice cream. Lance didn’t pretend but actually ate some paper and he declared it yummy. The castle, covered in snow, reminded me of the witch’s castle in Narnia. So I tried to get the boys to play freeze statues like in the movie, but they couldn’t freeze themselves long enough to count. My kitchen, hallway and living room was covered in snow. I had to use a shop vac to get it up and then go back over with a regular vacuum. It took some time and work. But what wonderful imagination these two boys have and I love the great memories that we made. Shredded paper, an odd thing, was my mercy for yesterday.
This week we are working on the letter U. There’s not as much to do with this letter that my boys will understand. So we took a break from tot school today and got outside in the yard. Studies have shown that getting out in nature seems to help prevent against ADD and boosts general curiosity in developing brains. What you don’t see in my blogs is that after nap time, we head outdoors, usually in the backyard for some unstructured play. We have slides, a tall climber, a seesaw, a roller coaster, balls, bikes and a sand box. This is the boys favorite time of the day. This is where they learn how to move those little bodies. I’d teach them physics to go along with the movement, haha, but they wouldn’t get it and sadly mom can’t remember any of it, not one little bit.
Since our weather today was beautiful and we were waiting on the UPS man, we went in the front yard this morning. Last week my best friend came over to the house with bubbles. We grabbed the two bottles, went out and had some fun. I haven’t been brave enough to set the boys loose and let them learn how to blow bubbles on their own yet. I’ve used the really small wand and held it while they blew. Today I opened the big bottles, showed them a few times and sat back to laugh and get drenched in soap. This very fun activity worked their gross motor skills while chasing the bubbles. It worked their fine motor skills holding the wand and putting the wand down in the bottle neck. It also works their mouth muscles and helps with speech. All that learning, not to mention learning how much air to use, what angle to hold the wand, how close to hold the wand, wind affecting the bubble production and a few more things.
The boys also ran through the flower beds, messed around with rollie-pollie bugs, picked the neighbor’s dandelions and pulled the red berries off our holly tree. They had a great morning of unstructured play. Now that it will be warm more days than not, I bet more of our tot school takes place outside. God’s loving mercy for us today is His great creation.
Today is Valentines Day! We now have a beautiful heart hanging in our kitchen window. Here’s what we did. I taped down a white doily heart inside a rimmed cookie sheet. I put blobs of Crayola Washable Paint, red/pink/purple, all around the tray.
Now came the really messy and fun part. I put a small rubber bouncy ball on the tray and let the boys take turns tilting the tray. As the ball rolls, it goes through the paint and leaves a colorful pattern on the heart. It got messy when James was too enthusiastic and rolled the ball off the sheet. Remember this is a bouncy ball and it bounced all over the kitchen leaving color prints until I caught it. The boys just laughed and thought it was funny watching an almost 40yr old chase after a ball leaving bright color everywhere. I declared the painting done when the boys had paint all over their hands and most of the white couldn’t be seen.
We set it aside to dry and the end result is a beautiful marbled heart.
While making crafts is oh so fun for all three of us, crafts are not the focus of our lives. We made a beautiful paper heart. What about catching the hearts of my boys? How do I take that feeling of love and adoration that we see on Valentines Day and move it to adoration of God? Today especially, it has been on my mind to talk about the love of God, that Jesus died for us and that Mommy & Daddy love God. While driving in the car I’ve talked about God’s love. So that covers today. What about the rest of the year? I heard from one of my patients, back when I worked, that the actual offense that your children do isn’t the main thing to focus on. I need to be looking into the heart issue. Did they do something out of pride, peer pressure, or anger? That is what I need to be focusing on. There is a million things that my boys can do that are wrong and tackling every little thing would drive a mom crazy, as it does some days literally. But there are only a handful of heart issues and a handful of issues is much easier to get your mind around. The heart issues are not easier to deal with, they are just more important. The actual offence and the heart are linked together. If I want my boys to have a beautiful heart, I must remember to work on both. For a heart caught by the Lord and all His ways is a very beautiful thing indeed. My those little hearts become beautiful by adoring the true God.
I have twin boys that are almost 2.5yr old. They don’t get all the lovie dovie heart stuff. One day if I have a little girl, I can go overboard with all the pink and hearts. But for now Valentines is a bit more subdued. Today I did get to have some of the pink hearts, good smelling sparkling stuff. I made a Valentines Bath for them to play in. I put in some bubble bath, red and pink glitter foam hearts, red tinsel, red and pink plastic heart boxes and red and pink pompoms. To top it all off I pulled out the cherry scented red roll on soap for the boys too. So the boys went in the bathroom and just about had a fit trying to get their clothes off so they could climb in the tub and they have a ball. The first thing they did was push all the hearts on the edge of the tub into the water. No sense in letting the tub stay pretty. They each wound tinsel around their arms, each other’s head, around their ears and in between their toes. Now they know how to say tinsel.
The pompoms were the best part. At first the boys didn’t even know that they were hidden in and underneath all the bubbles. I found one and showed them how to put it in a heart box. I also showed them among all the red and pink pompoms, I had put in one very special yellow pompom. That did it, the splashing started and you would have thought they were looking for a million dollars. I had to shut the curtain and just peek around the top edge because it was all out, no holds barred, I’m going to find it before you, kinda search. Now that my friends is boys. Valentines, a time for sharing and caring, but my boys showed it’s about enjoying competition. Now don’t get me wrong, they can be very affectionate and loving at times. James, my curious little thing, managed to see just how many pompoms he could stick up inside the water-spout before mom finished playing with Lance. I can attest to six pompoms fitting in the downspout and another one getting jammed up in there. So while I should be resting or cleaning or cooking during their nap, I will be getting needlenose pliers out to retrieve a stuck pompom before dad comes home. Dad fixes so many things for us that I just don’t think it’s fair to leave this one to him.
So it’s not my frilly pink, tulle and glitter hearts kind of Valentines experience, but not bad for two little boys. The hearts did have glitter on them, although Lance tried to eat it all off and the roll on soap smelled sweet and lovely. A great perk is that even after the bath, the boys smell like fresh picked cherries. I’m sure I’ll pull out a few heart crafts next week, but I think this will be the best Valentines thing that the boys get to do this year.
Valentines, a time for love, a time to make hearts, a time for red and pink painting and a time for spending money on junk usually. I want to teach my boys that valentines is also about showing that you care. You may not love someone in the traditional way, but showing others that you appreciate them means a lot too. So yesterday afternoon the boys made muffins. In my world, food means love and appreciation. I’m a sucker for a nice meal and or desserts. If you’ve read my past posts, you know my boys can cook so I didn’t take any new pictures of them in the kitchen. The only thing I did was pull out everything, open the bags of mixes, help pour the milk and put the tins in the oven. We made blueberry muffins and strawberry muffins this time. The “mmmms” in our kitchen from the boys licking the spatulas while the muffins cooked made me laugh. I definately think they have the sound of the letter M down. This morning we packaged the muffins up and went over to the local fire department to say thank you for serving us. Those firefighters were so nice. They put the boys up in the engine then let them turn on all the lights of the ambulance. They even got to see the giant boots and pants that the guys keep ready and waiting. We went to say thanks and these great people gave my boys something special in return. This was a great experience in how to show appreciate to someone. I hope they can look at my life and see me doing things to show my thanks to others and not just see mom taking. For I know that I’m setting an example of how to live. I’m also physically showing them the characteristics of Jesus Christ. We will do more acts of kindness in the months to come and sometimes we’ll be rewarded like today and other times we’ll learn that kindness is done just to be kind and thankful. Thank you Richardson Fire Department Station 5.
This morning I just know that some fairy was going to come into our house and start playing revely on a trumpet to wake us all up. But that didn’t happen even though my kitchen is seeing camo colors. I have not posted since last Wednesday, not because we haven’t done tot school, but because I was working on a project and I didn’t have time to blog. My project has nothing to do with a specific tot school idea. It is a fort that is to be used for fun. I’m sure I can find ways to incorporate it into some great learning fun, but its main purpose is just for fun. I have been putting a bed sheet over the kitchen table so the twins can have a fort. With all the crawling through that the boys do, the sheet just kept falling off. I tried putting heavy objects on the top and nothing was working. When I started getting frustrated and sometimes mad that the boys kept pulling off the sheet, I decided to do something about it so it would stay fun for everyone. Warning, if you are a little Martha Stewart, don’t look to hard at my sewing or laugh that it took me several days to make this. I already can name several of my friends that could knock this out beautifully in one afternoon with more embellishments added.
Yesterday, I finished this fort, name plate and all, and put it over the kitchen table. When the boys woke up from their nap they walked into the kitchen for their snack. The biggest smiles spread over their faces as they saw it. Success!!! They don’t care that the name plate didn’t get centered right or there’s some puckering at the seams. They just love that it’s their little space to play and imagine. I actually planned ahead and had put their milk and bowls of grapes inside the fort for snack time sitting on the floor. They giggled, ate and peered out at me and the smiles never left their little faces. Eating snacks in the fort will be a special occasional treat and the fort won’t be out all day either. It will be a great place for the boys to crawl, hide out and dream every so often. If it stays out all the time it will be another thing that disappears into our complacency about what we have.
Even if you aren’t a sewer, I’m not a good one, consider making a fitted fort so your little ones can have a place to do some special imagining. I’m thinking that they might like it. And remember, like I need to remember too, not ever bit of play has to be educational. Unstructured play lets your kids just be kids with budding imaginations.
I’m back to reading a story from the Bible for the whole week. This week we are reading Acts 5:1-10. It’s the story of Ananias and Sapphira. If you aren’t familiar, this couple sold some land. They took a portion of it the temple to give to God. That was great, but when a priest asked if this was all the money they got from the sale, they lied and didn’t confess that they kept some of it for themselves. So this week’s ideas will center around lying and money.
My boys have a fascination with their piggy banks and they just love to drop coins into them. Yesterday, after reading our story I went and brought both piggy banks into the living room. We all sat down and opened each piggy bank. Then I asked each one to sort the coins. That didn’t go as I had planned. James started sorting but he wanted to put all the silver shiny ones together and all the brown ones together. Lance just wanted to pull all of the money into his lap. I reminded Lance that he was being greedy and he proudly admitted to it. We’ve had a few laughs lately since they’ve caught onto the understanding of being greedy. Just this morning Lance told the dog that she was being greedy when she tried to eat his bagel. The main point of the story is not to lie, but the subject of being greedy applies to the story too so we weren’t too far off in our discussion this morning with the money.
After they had dropped all the money back in the piggy banks, I reminded them that it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you have. It is what you do with your money, like what you spend it on and doing honest things with it. My desire is to teach my children to save. Why do I want them to save? Obviously for security reasons, but when you have money, you have opened up doors to being able to say yes to what God wants you to do. That’s not to say you can’t serve without money, but it does make some avenues available that might not be otherwise. My boys’ eyes light up when they get money to put in the piggy banks. I want that excitement to spill over into their financial service to God and others. At the beginning of that service is being honest in how you mange your money.
I’m very grateful that God has had mercy on our family and has blessed us with good financial management. May I remember to be content and be truthful about my attitude concerning our budget. I’m the boys’ first example of how to mange money since they are with me as I shop. May I be as excited this year to save my coins as my boys are and to do mighty works with what we’ve been given.