Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekly Plans: ocean

Weekly themes are finally back in my life. Nothing like a bout of the flu to get me itching for order! I LOVE the ocean and Afton's passion for all things ocean surpasses my own. She will sit on the couch and look at her National Geographic Ocean book for a solid hour, rattling off facts she has learned ("whale sharks have gillrakers and eat plankton). So little effort is required to make this week's lessons a HUGE HIT!

Here's a peek at our week:

Today we made the above pictured art project: painting sea colors on wax paper then sticking on ocean cutouts (aren't you jealous of my fancy scissor skills?). The pink thing is the phytoplankton we learned about in depth today.

We also did a hands-on science project finding out which objects will float in salt water but not in fresh water. Easy prep with high amounts in interest...a bonus!

Ocean in a bottle...food coloring, sand, shells and plastic sea creatures...messy great fun!

Sea Creature shadow play. My cut out skills will be showcased in wonder this week!

Ocean collage (thanks to the free magazines at the library!). My kids are mesmerized with scissors and glue!

And as Afton was frustrated to tears that her shark drawing was not perfect today...each day we will practice drawing a different sea creature. I think this will become a standard activity in our weekly adventures now that Afton is intent on drawing things just right. And my drawing could stand for improvement as well!

Tumbling completed

Thanks to our GREAT rec center, Afton has been taking a round robin of classes. Patrick and I want to expose her to a little bit of everything, then let her choose her the activities she enjoys and excels at. She just completed two rounds of tumbling and had lots of fun learning to to forward flips off the bar, backward rolls and perfecting her cartwheel.

And this was the only photo I could manage in 8 weeks of classes!

New Skills

Afton and Abel have each picked up some new skills this week. Afton has been catching onto the reading thing with vigor lately, which has led her to a new favorite activity...WORD FINDS

She's pretty pleased when she finds a word!

And Abel- "Mr. a toy is not a toy unless it can be played with while in motion"- has fallen in love with legos! This is his hot rod he built today...all by himself!

And then a few seconds later he turned the lego bucket into a boat...

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I haven't taken any pictures that last few days. Abel got a 24 hour thing, I've been cooking real food (we having actual dinner guests tomorrow..our first since moving here!!) So here is a flashback. Some of my favorites photos have been taken during the month of February...

a year ago, the kids were just learning to play together (this photo also shows the only amount of sunlight that we got in our den in richmond...so happy not to be there this year!)

and grandpa came for a visit! hmmm...i wonder who's side of the family afton takes after?

and I captured one of my favorite photos of Abel...so favorite it is framed and hung in his room.

and two years ago, this little guy doubled our joy

In 2005, Afton made this disaster while "sleeping"

And in 2004, our bathroom was the coziest space in our 3rd floor weird walk-up in Mt. Vernon (hey, it was 2 bedroom, washer/dryer for $1000! so what if the electricity went out if you dried your hair and clothes at the same time...)

And back then, I was a Mom to one little girl, who was just learning to walk. Hey...I wore that same sweater today!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

picutre for two

Lately, I cannot seem to get a good photo of Afton and Abel together. I thought the two of them squished into the desk chair together would provide a still environment therefore a good picture. This was the best photo, and only because both were smiling!

Here comes the butter baby

We made butter for one of our preschool activities this week. I love how serious the kids take the shaking.

Afton mid-shake

Andrew: winner of the serious shaker award

Abel giving his fair shake too

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Liz turns 30

Happy Birthday to me. I'm 30 today! I praise my Mom for always loving her age (and never looking it by the way) for my nonchalance about turning 30. And I'm pretty pleased with what I accomplished in my 20's: marriage, college graduate, mom of two, living in 5 states, keeping fit, finding new hobbies and reaching new goals.

I got lots of lovely cards, calls and emails today. Thanks for remembering me!

Abel turns 2

Abel turned 2 yesterday!!! We celebrated by going to BUILD-A-BEAR, where he built a monkey and accessorized him with a "guitar hero."

Opening presents: a tractor, some trains and a train mat and a catchable ball

Posing with the tractor (Abel LOVES tractors and LOVES to ride the tractors at home deopt and at Target...the electric carts!)

Playing on the train mat with Daddy

Hot Dogs, Mandarins and juice boxes for dinner

Showing off the helicopter that topped the cupcake

Partaking of the chocolatey goodness cupcake

He loved getting birthday greetings and quickly turned it around by saying "Happy Birday Mommy!" or whomever said happy birthday in the first place! Abel is a sweet, busy, silly, adorable boy. I love him oodles and love the surprises he brings to my life. Happy Birthday Big Boy!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

I love Valentines Day! It's such an easy holiday to celebrate with little planning required (for kids at least). If you cut a few food items into heart shapes, you're set. Awesome.

I picked up a little load of clearance toys from Target last month. This morning, I picked out two items for the kids: a puppy and kitty dress up.

Abel loved taking his off.

Afton is the snooty kitty in her get up. She even added jewelry to accessorize.

Abel got a hold of the camera and Afton obliged with 30 or so head shots. He captured me too. And my favorite wall.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

Oh, my kids aren't wearing coats. And it's the dead of winter. The temperature must have heard my pleading heart this morning, begging for a refreshing change. Because change it did. Sixty four lovely degrees of change. Thank you. Even if it was only for one day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Year of the Rat

I am happy that I won't be having a baby in 2008. The year of the rat just doesn't sound good. And I believe in late winter and early spring babies, anyway...

We had a Chinese New Year celebration yesterday. Which really means, I found a great reason to visit our brand new drive through Panda Express! I love, love, love that orange chicken! Afton and I made lucky envelopes and decorate them with red and gold. Then we wrote little notes to Patrick and tucked them under his pillow to find. We also found out what animal each of us, by our year of birth and talkd about how we are like that animal. Is it any surprise Abel was born in the year of the dog? (Tonight as I tucked him into bed, with his snuggle puppy, he was barking and woofing away!)

My kids try and eat every meal with these kid-friendly chopsticks. Abel loves that he can really use his now.

And this happy photo should leave little doubt in your mind that Afton loves the chopsticks and the food!

I love winter holidays that chase the cold away!

our week

Patrick is slammed again at work, so I really had immerse myself in the real world of structured parenting this week (which means I had to put down the awesome books I've been reading thanks to Christy's recommendations and mailings. If you haven't read the Twilight series yet, stop whatever you are doing now and BUY them. And you know that I don't condone buying books, so I must mean it. They are that good. Ask me I've read them 4 times in 5 weeks. And I just finished reading a sad and wonderful book These Is My Words. It's the first book for MY BOOK CLUB I started. Anyway...back to the story).

We had quite a bit of fun with our planned week.

We made magazine collages and stuck the picture treasures on contact paper.

Abel worked really hard to sticking his pictures down just right.

Afton is mastering her scissor skills.

Abel took this photo during a moment of fun. I love that digital cameras give my kids the freedom to take a bazillion photos.

Abe and I made a garage for his cars during one of Afton's preschool days. He loved the garage for cars and for a superhero hat.

And here is Afton, fresh from a morning of preschool, which she adores. She has been the "star student" two days in a row. I'm super proud of her!!

We joined the community rec center last month which has been a lifesaver for my backside! I love having a gym to run and lift out my stress. The kids LOVE going to the awesome indoor pool each week and sometimes on the weekends when Patrick is home and they love the play center too. In the summer we had prepaid access to each of the pools in our city so I'll be taking some of my Mom's advice and spending as much time as possible at the pool with my kiddies this summer...which is the best thing I can think of doing every day in the summer. I wish summer started tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dinner and a Bath

Abel and Afton were showing off their good eats last night.

Then we introduced Abel to bubble baths. He was weirded out at first, but quickly found enjoyment.


abel's favorite

Abel LOVES this BRIGHT PINK backpack. He wears it around the house and tells me "I go nurfery, Mom" or "I take a walk, I be back."

I am in love with Abel's mad talking skills. Some of my FAVORITES are:

"You have good dream Daddy?"

"He at precool" (referring to Afton, of course)

"Let me check that out!"

and today's favorite when looking out the window at our fresh new snow

"Oooooo...it boooful!