Jun 24, 2012

Cars and Baseball

 Continuing our Cars theme, the kids practiced riding their own.
Then we examined our van. We talked about everything from hubcaps to gear shifts. They liked sitting in the drivers seat and suddenly had a new understanding of all the things Mommy has to pay attention to on the road.

 One day we played with their matchbox cars. We brought them to some fountains the kids like to splash in.

 Dax helped them set up a ramp later that day.

 Colin also received his present from Papaw in the mail. A perfect little chair for his room.

Giving the kids a box is a great way to wind down the day before bedtime.

 Warning: The rest of the post is about baseball. If I thought Knoxville was a sports town, Dallas is even bigger, and more obsessed with the pros. There are the Cowboys and Mavericks of course, but there are also the Rangers, who have been in the World Series the last two years. For living near a city with so many winning teams, we've never been to one game. I played softball in high school but was never interested in watching baseball. The games seemed too boring on tv. Until the World Series last year when I was riveted by the games! Then I watched hours of documentaries on baseball. Well, Anna was able to get us a couple of Rangers tickets through work, and I was so excited to finally go! It was exciting to be among all the regular fans crowding around the stadium in all blue and red.

 The view when you enter the stadium.

 View of Six Flags from the top of the stadium- with storms brewing.
 View from our seats.
 They had so many entertaining things going on the big screen between innings, and nothing was boring at all! No commercials or commentary helps. There's just so much to look at and watching the players' skill and efficiency was really entertaining, as well as listening to the guy behind us explain baseball to his family. We learned quite a lot, including that the little square things are called "bases." : )

 Rain came and went a few times so they had to cover the dirt with a tarp. I know, all you regular sports people are laughing at my play by plays.

 Beautiful view!

Loved these storm clouds. Anyway, Dax and I had a great time at the game and I so hope we don't have to wait another 11 years to go again : ) We left a little early due to my uncontrollable anxiety over a little girl I felt was too close to the railing. I couldn't concentrate on anything anymore and the family didn't look like they were going to move any time soon! We made it through 7 innings anyway and wanted to beat the traffic before the long drive home.

Stokes Kids Weather Report

Weather and Colin's Bday

 As I mentioned before, the week after Movies was Weather. We did an experiment with water and heat, trying to create rain in a bottle. It worked pretty well.

 The kids got to play in the "rain" aka sprinkler.

 The Magic Bullet turned some ice into snow to eat for a snack.

 Sometimes it seems like a tornado hit our house when I'm in the next room : )
The kids learned about storms, we watched videos, and even had a real storm.

 Mr. Colin turned 2 years old! Hard to believe, as we always say. We opted out of any more big parties so we had our friends the Bentons over for some slip and slide time and lunch.

 We couldn't get Colin to stay in one place while he opened his gifts. This is the best shot I got. He received a little electronic puzzle from Phoebe and Finley. From the girls he got a stuffed shark. Dax and I gave him some superhero action figures, a little garage-headquarters for them, and a velcro ball set. Oh, and the slip n slide. From Grandma so far, he got little gathering and food itself.

 From Nana, a bike and helmet. From Papaw, a little chair for his room, which I'll post later.

 We sang clapped, but Colin wasn't sure about the attention. He did manage a few sneaky fingers full of ice cream. He wasn't so sure about blowing the candle either and made no attempt whatsoever! haha But he had a great day with friends and lots of new things to play with.

 Earlier that morning, I went garage sale-ing with Anna. As soon as I spotted this, I loved it for Colin's room. Originally I thought I would paint it white to match his bed, but he won't have a little white bed forever, and it was really pretty the color it was. I cleaned it up and changed out the knobs for green polka dots and red stripes that matched his room. With the knob purchase, it was a total of about $30!!!  Papa Hats and Granny B's bday money helped Colin get a new armoire. (Megan and Scott helped unload it and noticed the sign on it said "Amour- $20") 

 We picked our carrots! Did they taste delicious? Not even close. They were very rubbery and bitter. But we had fun growing them anyway. : )

 The next week's learning theme turned out to be Cars. I know nothing about cars except the basics, which is good, because toddlers really only can absorb the basics anyway : ) We put them to work washing said cars. They loved it.

(The kids did make a weather forecast video for weather week, but for some reason it's not loading! I also have a few other videos to post, but will have to wait till the system works).

Jun 5, 2012


 So I had some pictures from Hannah's graduation and a few other things, but here's what happened to our computer. So I'll have to retrieve those when it's cooperating : )

 Here are some examples of what the kids get into, no matter what they're doing. I'm sure when they're all older, I'll look back on these times as funny, but a lot of work....just as I do now.
These kids cannot just eat a sandwich, no matter how many rules we impose. They just get destroyed no matter what. Here is a picture of the pb and j sandwiches stabbed with pretzels.

One of the guilty parties.

My trick of always having a bowl of apples on the table to provide a nutritious snack seems to have backfired. They came back to the shower and asked if they could have apples. I found this when I got back. They each had an apple, but Colin had taken bites out of all the other apples, too. I even pulled one out he had put back in the basket.  That's 8 apples chewed up by 3 kids!!

I woke up one morning to this. All three blinds ties (with 5 ties each) knotted together in one huge ball with clothes hangers on them. Of course half of Colin's clothes were now in the floor also. I don't know where they come up with this stuff. It took me a good 10 minutes to untangle everything.

 Maybe they get it from the Tunnel Monster who likes to attack sometimes after dinner.
For some reason, Dax loves getting in this thing- haha

This is the prime real estate for hide- and- seek games.

 Colin was all business after dinner that night. Frank Sinatra hat, cowgirl boots, purse, and food boxes.

 I've posted our idea on Facebook, but here it is with pictures. Since Hannah's been out of school, that's about 4 hours less driving a week and 8 hours more with all 3 kids. They definitely need routine or things get crazy fast. So I wrote down about 30 ideas and but them in a bowl. Each week they draw a topic, I do a little research, and we spend each day learning about a different facet of the topic. The first one they drew was "Movies."  I don't remember our exact sequence now. On Sunday, Dax and I took the girls to see the Chimpanzee movie in the theater, which we all loved. Monday we talked about how movies were made. We made shadow puppets to show what people had to watch before film that counted as a moving picture. We did some animation- you know how you draw a little man on the corner of every page of a phone book and then flip it? We used an etude book, but still the same effect. Then they made their own! The next day, we talked about the different jobs on a movie set, and watched some film of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen doing the Toy Story voice-overs. We recorded our own voices as different characters, but it quickly became just me following their requests. Can't wait for Dax to stumble on those on the Ipad someday! Another day we talked about how to make a movie, practiced being set and lighting designers, directors, etc. Then we chose one of their library books, Pirates Don't Take Baths.

They chose "scenes" from the book and made a storyboard.

 Chloe and I gathered props and made costumes. Later, I organized what we would film- because let's face it, little kids have no patience for disorganized adults- at least mine don't.

 Before the big shoot, we had our first family move night with everyone present and past their bedtime. We had popcorn and watched Wall-E.

 The next day, in an unbelievable hour and a half (largely in part due to the extremely organized producer- ahem) we completed the movie! Chloe was a bit of a diva actress, fitting the job perfectly
: ) but she said her lines well and was fun to work with so I suppose along with all the other tempermental actresses out there, she'll be hired again. Hannah did a great job holding props, being a gopher, and acting out her own lines- extremely careful about her memorization.  I wasn't sure how to edit things in our new computer, but it worked out easily, the only problem being it moves from scene to scene a little too quickly and I couldn't figure out how to space it better.  So here's their movie debut if you missed it on Facebook!

 This week's topic is weather! The first day, we learned about the four basic cloud shapes, water vapor, how clouds are formed. We put a mirror in the freezer and blew hot air on it to change the "cloud" into "rain" on the mirror. They also made cotton ball cloud pictures. Today they weren't at all interested in naming the clouds for Nana, which surprised me because they were so excited about it before. However, before bedtime, Chloe asked if there were stratus clouds outside : )
I've got fun plans for the other lessons and it looks like storms are on their way, so they'll get to experience some of what we'll talk about.

 The girls had their first official swim lesson today. Well, Hannah had them at 9 months old, but this is the first one she's aware of. A friend passed along a groupon for a set of 4 lessons at WinKids. This place was really cool. Decorated like an old Texas town inside, and windows everywhere to watch gymnastics, dance, and tumbling. There was even a little theater room where the kids could relax on huge beanbags and watch a movie on the big screen while waiting for parents and siblings.

 The life size fish tank/ : )

The girls loved their lessons! Right away Chloe accidentally stepped off the raised side inside the pool and got surprised. After one of the instructors grabbed her, she proceeded to climb out of the pool and walk away! Haha. They brought her back and she was happy the rest of the time. Hannah was really excited about all the different skills and loves putting her head underwater.

 Gotta pose with the bear on the way out.

 Our library is starting the Summer Reading Club. I remember doing this as an older kid. I loved completing the lists and required genres, but that's just me. I love completing lists. : ) For the little ones, they have to read 24 books, color each footprint as they read a book, and return the form to receive a prize bag. This will probably go quickly since we read so many books over here. So I decided each girl would choose a book to be theirs, and they had to really focus as I read and then we discuss it a bit since they can't read on their own. Hannah technically can read some simple things and loves finding "Silent E's" but I've yet to really work with her on bigger words and complete sentences so I'll spend a lot of time on that this summer. Anyway, these are there first choices. I figures I'd also make an official list so they could review what they read.

Colin's birthday is this Saturday! We're planning a little water fun!