Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Chocolate Pudding!

Mmmmm... Loving his chocolate pudding...
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do...

John Michael loves to copy whatever his siblings are doing, which has aided greatly in his learning.

Here, he's filling a piggy bank with loose change for a local charity. Very good for fine motor skills. The coins are small and hard to grasp, and the hole is just a slit not much wider than a quarter, not to mention it's good for his concentration, too.

Another skill he's picked up is building with Duplo Lego's. He used to just stack and stack, but now he seems to be building out a bit as well. He's discovering more ways to build and design. I LOVE Lego's. He also plays with the Lego animals and cars.

This is a funny photo and doesn't do it justice... He's talking on a play phone making his fake laughing sounds while pulling the "barking" dog. It was soooo funny, but I didn't get a great shot. He was obviously mimicing Greta who has lengthy (pretend) conversations on the phone all the time.

And finally, I caught John Michael learning the fine art of making funny faces from Greta after sharing a pretzel snack.

I love all the learning that goes on, even when I'm not actively teaching him anything in particular. Life is full of opportunities for learning, you just have to open your eyes to recognize it.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Take 2... Updated video with captions

I know I'm crazy, but I was up until 1:30am adding some photos I'd forgotten and then started labeling all the places John Michael has been.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

John Michael -- Birth to 3 years. You're so Amazing!

In preparation for John Michael's transition to preschool meeting tomorrow, I gathered up all my favorite photos. The first take was 9 minutes long! Here's the pared down version. I've kept it to about 3 minutes to show him doing all kinds of things. John Michael... you're so amazing!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gold Rush Days -- Sacramento, CA, circa 1850

The Old School House, circa 1850, Sacramento, California.

Sacramento was "the" place in the 1850's for finding gold.  We spent Labor Day in Old Sacramento for Gold Rush Days where the streets of old town are covered in dirt and the only transportation to be seen is horse and carriage.  There are lots of shoot-outs and displays to see and things to do.  Here, we're in the old schoolhouse.  The boys in the front are in trouble for sitting on the girls' side of the classroom.  The one on the left looks remorseful.  The one on the right, well, he was taken out back and paddled.

These pioneer girls are enjoying the shade after braving harsh conditions and surviving the long journey from the east in a covered wagon.  They're smiling because they just had their first bath in months.

Here's that boy again.  Like I said, nothin' but trouble.  Playing Faro in the tent city.  The boy actually won the game and left with 21 chips.  He had some sasparilla and a bath, and paid for the girls to have a bath.  Perhaps he's a gent after all.

A woman making gorgeous lace using wooden bobbins.  Such an amazing skill.
The little prairie girl trying her best at tug-o-war.

This young man was trying his hand at "crack the whip."

A fine bunch. 
They posed while waiting for the steam locomotive to be filled with water.

I love how the girls enjoy dressing for historic days.  Nic used to, but he has outgrown everything we had for him.  We found Anna's dress at a thrift store earlier this year -- a Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress for $14.99.  I was so thrilled!  And Greta's outfit is something I'd bought for Anna on ebay several years back.  I love how she looks in it -- so cute.  I can't wait to see John Michael dressed as an old fashioned boy next year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

MOMS! -- Introducing the "Whine-erator"

This could be the invention of the century!

Kids making too much noise? Baby still fussing after you've met all his needs? Have you heard, "Mooooooommmmmm" followed by whining one too many times? Can't hear yourself think? Need a little quiet but still need to keep an eye on things?

Then you need the Whine-erator! Guaranteed to take you to a place of peace and calm, at least in the sound department. "Sorry, Sweetie, I can't hear you," will be your new mantra.

Order now. Limited quantity. You deserve some peace today :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A rough week...but we'll make it...

After Luke was born, it became very clear that I would need some help managing the kids and helping John Michael have the attention he needed while I recovered and cared for a newborn.  I've never needed help before, but this time was different...

On a recommendation from a friend, we found Haley...

a Sophomore at St. Mary's College who we hired to be a nanny/babysitter/mother's helper (all-in-one) for several half days a week throughout the summer.  It didn't take long for us all to warm up to Haley, and she and John Michael formed a special bond that I'm sure she didn't expect when she first started helping out.

Within a few days, John Michael had Haley wrapped around his little finger and she quickly learned how to communicate with him and interpret his sounds, gestures/signs, and words.  She took him (and usually Greta, too) to the park, both slathered in sunscreen, to work off some of their energy and to allow me some quiet time with Luke, to straighten up the house or to rest.  She made it easy for me to leave the house to run errands with Luke or to have some one-on-one time with the older kids, often while John Michael was napping.

Saying "Good=bye" last Wednesday was especially difficult.  The kids and I have missed her this week and I can tell John Michael misses her, too.  He has even said her name, "Lay-Lee" a couple times!

Haley, we wish you well in your studies.  You are always welcome to visit and babysit anytime.  The kids all agree that you're the best babysitter they've EVER had.  That's quite a compliment!  So, don't forget to stay in touch!  We'd love to see you at the Down syndrome walk!
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