Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dino Shapes and Learning Through Play!

We were hoping to spend a good three hours hiking in Government Canyon this weekend to see the recently-discovered 110-million year old dino prints found in a dried up creek bed. (This is pretty much the only positive side effect I know of from global warming.)  Anyway, a random south Texas cold front + rain meant we weren't hiking anywhere. (Don't fret, it wasn't enough rain to refill that river bed!) To go along with our trip to see Acrocanthosaurus, I designed a dinosaur shape activity that actually turned out amazing!

First, I spent about an hour cutting shapes into cardstock during nap on Friday. At first I considered doing all green but I already had sheets of the random colors and thought it might be a little more fun, anyway. I will say that I was ecstatic to see Zayd pick colors that weren't blue (in addition to using nearly everything that was). The old me would have eyeballed the shapes and called it a day, but now that I have a child in Montessori, I felt responsible for maintaining some of the concepts they work on so actively in the classroom.

I also made a model that the kids could use to see what is possible. Zayd is not apt to jump right in so I think it is imperative that I give him a clue as to the "right" way to do something (his words, not mine...we are working on that). I brought in Zayd's favorite book (of all time?) National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinos to give him some inspiration and it worked perfectly. By the way, if your kiddo likes dinos, just go by the book now. We read all 130+ pages twice a day, every day UNLESS someone stops by in which case we take the time to read it to them as well.

While I tried to make my dino on cardstock (not using a real dino inspiration), I found I was running out of space. For the kids, I decided to use contact paper so we wouldn't have to mess with gluesticks and we could break out of the 8.5x11 box. (Gluesticks look too much like chapstick and the lolly especially can't resist.) I taped down the dino paper, sticky side up and let them have at it.

The lentil picked Stegosaurus first. We got to work on concepts of shapes, obviously, but also counting, observation, fine motor skills and hand eye coordination: getting four legs in a row is nontrivial work when you are three! We also had great conversations about which size rectangle we would need and concepts of scale: "are his legs bigger or smaller than his tail?"

Z put two triangles together to make food for our dino and discovered, much to his surprise, a square! It was definitely a "Montessori at home" win.

This little guy was proud.

You may have noticed that Zahra's contact paper didn't get adorned with any dino parts. She also loves dinos but isn't quite up to the challenge we had here, though i invited her to play along with us. We decided that she found the tactile play involved in running over her sticky contact paper much more to her liking so that is what she did.

And some of this every time I turned around. That is her bottle of vitamins. She moved the furniture to build a climbing apparatus. 

Zayd moved on to make a Carnotaurus (the funniest dino because of his teeny tiny baby arms - we didn't have any pieces tiny enough) and a Mamenchisaurus who had the longest neck of any animal every living. 

OH! And i made a Scansoriopteryx because I didn't think the triangles were getting enough love. :)

We will definitely be doing this again and again, likely with different inspiration. And i decided that #2 of Zayd's three presents needs to be this awesome toy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Zayd is drawing!

Well we still have an hour of crying everyday when it comes to school, and I know I keep saying this but I really see such a difference in Zayd since he started Montessori. Here's the Mammenchisaurus he painted today.
P.S.  Those splotches are poops.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween 2014 featuring Toddlers and Waddlers

This Halloween was much like the three before except Zayd and Zahra let me paint their faces. That lasted all of about three minutes, but its the thought that counts.

All I can say is that I have two dynamic amazing kids. Seeing these photos makes me swoon. I am so lucky to be so in love.

Beyond that, truly, this neighborhood is awesome. We have made such an amazing life for ourselves here in Mahncke Park. It is one I can't bear to part with. The grass just isn't greener anywhere else. (Drought notwithstanding.)

Because it bears some mention, Zayd and Zahra wanted to be Robin Hood and Prince John from Disney's the Robin Hood. Thus, Zayd is a fox AND Robin Hood and Zahra is a lion AND a prince. Goodness. I know. Everyone said he was a very cute Peter Pan. :)

And check out these neighbors. A-dorbs.

And here is about 1/5 of our Toddlers and Waddlers trick or treat parade. Don't you wish we came a-knocking on your door?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back in business!

This house is happy, healthy, and well after what felt like forever but was actually a week of the "Big Sick".

I love seeing Zayd back into full play mode versus watch Muppets and cough up a lung mode. (I should say we are at play and cough mode, actually, but why taint what is DEFINITELY progress.) More than anything, I feel he has emerged from this "mono" with a new creative spirit that is taking his Legos all around the world and back. Each of these little creations has a name ("Subturboship" was my favorite) and a purpose ("get badguys" is popular).

This weekend, I happily completed a one hour Occupational Therapy intake interview about Zayd and they asked me about 100 questions about this little lentil. I knew most of them but after yesterday, I think I missed one big one. "How long can Zayd play independently?" I said 15 minutes. Um, no, not this new Zayd. Not the Zayd that is just so happy to be able to make voices and robot noises and sound effects. He played all morning with very little guidance and just a little bit of audience neediness. :)

Can you spot the rocketship that shoots for the stars with two turbo engines? What about the main badguys house with flames on top?

While Zayd is busy building, Zahra turned the Lego box into a boat, a hat, and a robot face. Here she is emerging from it. Thank goodness my children never grow! They can still fit into all of their toys.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sick Day, dive five.

Zayd is feeling a little better today, though this movie is mostly of Zahra putting Zayd's ninja turtle in its quiet spot.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mono. Really.

This poor sweet boy of mine has mono. If you read up on mono online it says that they don't have symptoms. Well, that is not true for the little lentil. He is very very sick despite everything I have read on every website. In fact, it is likely she has mono too with no symptoms.

I suppose the only silver lining is that any tiny friends we might have an infected with mono will likely only have a cold four weeks from now and will be incapable of getting mono as teenagers or adults.

The black lining is that I feel like I have spent nearly four years chasing a diagnosis that will explain why Zayd always seems just a little bit different. We are embarking on a new journey next week to see if we can solve the food issues and maybe that will bring us some answers. For now it's humidifiers, rest and honey. That's right, we are treating mono with honey.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Susan is Sixty

Last month I threw my momma one heck of a party with help from my Daddy and Jon-Boy. Enjoy the pics of this Susan is Sixty Blue and White fete!